Friday, June 14, 2013

The Black Forest Fire--the Most Destructive Fire in Colorado History!

This has been a fun birthday week for me--it is not every day that one turns 60! Unfortunately, my attention has also been riveted on the terrible Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs, in El Paso County, Colorado.  Two people have been confirmed killed and over 360 homes have burned to the ground.

The voracious 24 square mile fire is being fed by unusually hot temperatures, gusty winds, and the lack of rain for many months. The Black Forest was one of the largest contiguous stretches of ponderosa pine in the United States, and is located NE of Colorado Springs, Colorado's second largest city

Due to a surging economy and rapid growth in the region, the Black Forest had been developed over recent years with million dollar homes

Now, one by one, those homes are being totally destroyed, which is also fueling the scope of the fire.

I pray that there will be no further loss of life in this historic fire, and that the brave firefighters and first responders will remain safe.  I am also praying that the front range of Colorado gets a much needed drenching rain--rain without lightening, so that no further fires are ignited in other areas!

While we live about 35 miles from this fire, it is ever constant on my mind that the risk of a fast spreading fire like this could also cause extreme damage to our area. The hot, dry high desert climate of Colorado puts everyone on the front range in danger. No matter where one lives, nature can destroy all we worked hard for --tornadoes-floods-earthquakes-hurricanes--fires. The most important thing to do is be ever vigilant and evacuate when told to by the authorities. No material possession is worth your life, or those of your loved ones. Just as I was prepared living in New York City after 9-11, for another terrorism attack, and again after I saw Hurricane Sandy destroy many home around me, I now am making sure my "Go" bag is ready with all the items I may need if I ever have to evacuate our home quickly.

What is your region's greatest weather threat? Do you have a "Go" bag ready just in case?

Here is a good website that gives suggestions as to what to put in your disaster "Go" bag:

Please keep Colorado in your prayers--thank you!  All Black Forest photos in this post are from the Denver Channel 7 News

I'll be showing you more about how I celebrated my special birthday very soon...stay tuned, and thank you for all your best wishes!

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eileeninmd said...

Happy Birthday, Pat! I have been watching the news and the photos have been really scary looking. I hope no else is hurt in this fire and I hope you remain safe where you live.

From the Kitchen said...

It is my firm belief that one should celebrate birthdays long and well--especially no. 60!!

I've been watching the fire news and feel so bad for those who are affected. I hope that the predicted rainfall for Colorado comes to the area of the fires.

Keep vigilant and stay safe.


Vee said...

Oh dear...I was hoping that it was way, way away from you. I am joining you in each of your prayers as you understand the situation so well. Accccckkk... No, we don't have any issue that causes us to have a "go" bag for which I am grateful. I do remember the fires we had each summer that we lived in Arizona. We could see the hills ablaze every evening and I found it disconcerting. You folks take the smoke causing trouble as well?

Vee said...

BTW, you make 60 look great! Hope that you have many chances to celebrate!

Margaret said...

Sharing in your sadness and worry Pat. Praying no more lives are lost and this fire ends soon. Mother Nature can be so beautiful, yet so cruel! Heartfelt sympathy for the family of those whom have lost their lives and for those whom have lost their homes. Lives changed forever.
Enjoy more birthday celebration with your family this weekend Pat! 60 IS special because after 60years of lifes experience brings wisdom :) Pat, you do not look 60!
I always enjoy my birthday, I'm turning 62 this September! Margaret from B.C.

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

I'm so glad you've gotten some special treatment this week! I love being in my will, too! My heart goes out to all of your living in CO. I continue to pray!

podso said...

I'm sure this special birthday is more special by who all are with you at this point in life! How wonderful for you. You do look good for 60 as Vee says. May the celebrating continue! I'm having a 60th here tonight for a friend!

ellen b. said...

I do hope they can contain these fires real soon. Our region is threatened by earthquakes and there is also the chance of a volcano erupting like Mt. St. Helens or Rainier and Tsunamis...

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Wow Pat. That is just devastating. I hope you and everyone else stays safe. Good for you for putting together that get-away bag. How did you get such photos?

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

Such a scary fire! I'm glad you and your family are ok and that you had a fun B-Day:@)

Snap said...

Many Happy Birthday Wishes to You, Pat! The fires in Colorado are horrible. Glad to hear you are safe. Yep ... I have my hurricane box all packed. I must get new batteries for flashlights and radios ... but yep ... all done!

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

Happy Birthday!

There have been so many natural disasters recently. I guess they've always existed, but with all the news coverage nowadays it just seems like more. Those wildfires seem to be popping up everywhere in recent years.

My biggest concern is hurricanes. I'm about 20+ miles inland from Galveston and we are in a mandatory evacuation area. We're in area B and it's A that goes first depending upon the strength of the storm. However, I don't plant to go anywhere. We tried to evacuate for Rita and it was a disaster. Everyone was scared because it was right after Katrina and the roads were blocked with cars. We ended up turning around and coming home. We would not be in any danger from storm surge and that's what kills most people. We'd just have high winds and hopefully they'd diminish some before they reach us. With cats and a dog it's too difficult to go.

Sara said...

Congratulations on your 60th Pat! That's a milestone, I hope you celebrate well and long. Sorry the fires are injecting some sorrow in among all the joy. Colorado has certainly had it's share lately. I started paying attention a year ago when my son moved to Denver.

The most looming threat here is a major earthquake. We have an emergency box but are not as prepared as we should be. If there is a major earthquake, there will be nowhere to go unless it's on foot. Fires are another problem in the larger Los Angeles area but not where we live, thankfully.

I join you in praying for a swift end to those destructive fires.

Michelle said...

Happy Birthday to you Pat! I am sorry to hear that this destruction is happening at all, and so near to you. Prayers that all is well very soon.

Ann said...

Glad to hear you are having a good birthday week.
Hopefully they can get those fires under control soon. Prayers for Colorado on the way

Pamela Gordon said...

Oh, that is just terrible! How awful for those who have been affected by these fires and have lost so much. We don't have anything like that here - forest fires, hurricanes (the odd tail end of one), tornados, earthquakes etc. Our part of the world is pretty safe I guess. We have our share of winter blizzards that put things to a stand still but nothing so devastating as this. There have been forest fires of course and flooding from spring run off or heavy rains. I'm glad you have your emergency bag all ready. I just hope you never have to use it! Blessings, Pam

Linda said...

I love Colorado and I am so sorry for the things you are going through. It is scary!! We had fires down here in Texas last year. I guess there's always SOMETHING happening somewhere with the weather and/or natural disasters. It is good to have a plan and be ready - just in case!
Happy Birthday! You are still a spring chicken!!!

Diane Wells said...

So sorry to hear that this fire is still burning out of control! Stay safe Pat!

Karen Harvey Cox said...

Happy Birthday Pat,

I saw the fires on the news and couldn't even imagine what it must feel like to watch your home go up in smoke.

I didn't know about the deaths. Stay safe.


Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

My best friend Gail lived on a historic old ranch in the Black Forest for many years. I used to visit her and stay in her home which was originally a bunk house. She moved close to the Garden of the Gods a few years ago. She has told me the old ranch and all the old buildings are now ashes.

Yes... Everyone needs to have a go bag and a list of what must be grabbed at a moments notice and a plan in place.

Sorry your birthday isn't just wild flowers swaying in the breeze. Happy New decade of life anyway!

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

My best friend Gail lived on a historic old ranch in the Black Forest for many years. I used to visit her and stay in her home which was originally a bunk house. She moved close to the Garden of the Gods a few years ago. She has told me the old ranch and all the old buildings are now ashes.

Yes... Everyone needs to have a go bag and a list of what must be grabbed at a moments notice and a plan in place.

Sorry your birthday isn't just wild flowers swaying in the breeze. Happy New decade of life anyway!

Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

These fires are just heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and the brave firefighters.

Happy belated birthday Pat. The NY pizza was the perfect present.

Sally Tharpe Rowles said...

Happy Birthday!60!!!

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Pat!
Prayers for Colorado!
Hurricanes are the biggest natural threat here in Florida, followed by tornados, followed by floods, followed by sink holes!
Hurricane season began 1 June and I need to get my "go" bag in order! Thanks for the reminder!

AdriBarr said...

hi pat,

congratulations on your 60th birthday! i enjo9y celebrating birthdays in general, and the milestone ones are great fun. i think it is important to acknowledge them and to drink in all the feelings that come along with the "big birthdays." we remember what it was to be young, and wonder why it is that youth is wasted on the young!

the fire is so frightening. i'm out here in southern california where our "fire season" gets longer with each passing year. aside from earthquakes, our fires are our biggest problem.


Betsy Adams said...

Oh how very very sad. I'm just sick about the fires... The one which bothered me personally was the Royal Gorge fire. We had just been there last Sept. and loved it. Such a horrible shame.

God Bless all of the firefighters and authorities and volunteers... I am praying for rain in your area.

Glad you had and are having a glorious 60th birthday week...


LR @ Magnificent or Egregious said...

Happy Birthday Pat - hope you enjoyed your birthday (and week!)

Hope the fires cease and rain comes!

Cindy said...

Happy Birthday, my friend. I dread forest fires, when I was a kid I often heard of them and watched the glow in the sky, so afraid that it would consume our home. Our house actually burnt down when I was 11 years old and that might be why I thought about it so much, it wasn't due to a forest fire though.
I lived in BC for 45 years and it is a heavily wooded province. It's so sad to see the photos that you've posted, so much senseless devastation.
We were put on alert for a tornado last Monday, due to a fast moving thunder storm, but if there was one it didn't touch down, There really aren't any reasons to have a to-go bag here where I live.
Hugs, Cindy

Sheila said...

Fires are our biggest threat. I remember 10 years ago when watching the black smoke 8 or 10 miles to the south. The Farmer was using his tractor to plow a fire guard around our home and I packed all the photo albums into pillow cases which he took to work in the trunk of his car . Some farm families lost everything and others packed up their belongings into grain trucks. Unfortunately 4 families lost their homes but no lives were lost. That's a great idea to have a go bag ready. i will be taking a peek to see what should be in it. Hopefully mother nature will help to stop the fires in Colorado.

myletterstoemily said...

oh dear, my heart goes out to our favorite
state and our prayers are for rain.

happy birthday!

we have to worry with tornadoes in colorado.

Sarah said...

Pat, I'm late arriving as I've been helping friends move this week. Wishing you a belated but heartfelt Happy Birthday! I know it was a special one celebrated with your darling family.
Heartsick for those who have lost their homes and possessions to this deadly fire. I pray that you will remain safe and out of harms way.

Willow said...

Having computer issues here, I am just now seeing your post. I'd been wondering if you were safe or close to the fires. In answer to your question, yes, we have our plan, our (partially packed) bag and our list. But last month when the Springs Fire moved to within 300 ft of our house, I realized that even a list (or packed bag) doesn't help because you may not even be home when the fire sweeps through. We were fortunate that no inhabited buildings were destroyed and no lives were lost here.

Willow said...

Oh! and Happy Birthday!

La Petite Gallery said...

That's awful, not turning 60, the fire. You are smart to be ready.
When I saw this on the news , I told my Daughter, Pat is living there now. Had no idea you were so close, 35 miles is close. Happy birthday,
it's good to be alive.

GailO said...

Happy Birthday you sweet young thing! I do hope it was extra special:)

35 miles seems way too close for comfort to that fire for me! I am hearing on the news that it is more under control though...hope that is true. Hurricanes and blizzards are the only threats here and I don't live in a flood plain so I am fairly safe. Never say never though!

I'll be watching that fire on the news more closely now that I know how close you live....stay safe!

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I have been watching news coverage of the fire...and paid so much more attention knowing that it is near you. From what I last saw...the fire is still growing in size. How horrible! This will definitely be a birthday week you will remember.

Lovella ♥ said...

We've been watching the coverage of the devastation and feel so bad for the beauty that is being burned up. So many people are effected. Praying right now for the folks in your part of the world.

diane b said...

A shocking disaster. All those beautiful homes destroyed and loss of life is awful. A go bag is a good idea. I must admit we're not so well prepared although we have a drug box organised for if we have to evacuate. It is not so bad for us in winter but we are subject to fires , floods and cyclones in summer.