More wildfires in Colorado

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by WBahn, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. WBahn

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    Last year we had the Waldo Canyon fire and several people on the forum asked me whether we were affected by it (we were, but only in a mild way). I was touched and impressed by how well some of us here keep a lookout for others in our community.

    One person has already asked me if the current slate of fires is putting us in danger, so I thought I would let everyone know where things stand.

    I am presently living in the Denver area during the week and going home on weekends, so when I got an e-mail from my wife saying, "Fire!!! We have wildfires here!!!" I was a bit concerned (and that is the exact contents of her e-mail). My first thought was, "Why the hell are you wasting time e-mailing me, get your ass off the mountain!". I called home, where my stepmom was watching our daughter, and she wasn't aware of anything burning on the mountain. It turns out that she sent the e-mail from school (yesterday was the first day of the summer class she is taking) and so she didn't know if the fires were threatening "our" mountain or not and she was freaking a bit herself.

    The good news (for us) is that the nearest fire, the Black Forest fire, probably won't become an issue for is. It is actually significantly closer to us than the Waldo Canyon fire ever got (and for which we were on pre-evac notice), but it is on the other side of I-25, which is a pretty effective fire break, and the prevailing winds are the other direction. But my former boss has a house that, when I checked last night, was just three blocks outside of the mandatory evaculation zone and in the same stand of trees that the fire was in.

    I just checked right now and the evacuation zone has grown hugely, but only slightly to the west. It is now at the very end of my former boss's street, perhaps 100 yards from his house. His home is a beautiful 7400sf home and it would be a shame to see it burn -- but there have already been scores of even larger and more beautiful homes that have been reduced to cinders. I haven't been able to get in touch with him, but have left messages letting him know that he can stay with us if the worst happens.

    I'll post updates as things develop.
  2. WBahn

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    We continue to be okay, though the evacuation zone is now only about two or three miles from us (but still on the other side of the highway).

    My former boss' home is now well within the mandatory evac zone and there are homes only a few hundred yards from his that are confirmed lost. His appears to still be okay.

    Some other people that are good friends and that we work with are on the edge of the evac zone and have been told to be ready to leave at short notice.

    Our daughter almost certainly has some classmates that have lost there homes. Of course, since it is summer break, it is hard to find that out. Her school, itself though, is in the pre-evac zone.
    dthx and JoeJester like this.
  3. WBahn

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    Should be the final update.

    They seem to have a firm handle on the fires. My old boss appears to have been lucky and the fire appears (based on the lists that are available) to have spared his house, though it looks like it took the houses closest to him to the east. Our other friends appear to have never had to evacuate completely, which is good. I'm sure we will find out that some of my daughter's classmates have lost their homes.

    Last year's Waldo Canyon fire was the worst (economic) fire in Colorado history and this one tops it in a big way. About 50% more homes destroyed and these homes were much more high end. The butcher's bill could have been worse, though. Two dead, which is about the same as Waldo Canyon (three or four, IIRC).

    The two that died were trying to evacuate. I don't know if they just pushed it too far in trying to pack too many things or if the fire just raced up to them much faster than would have been reasonable to anticipate.

    That's a tough call. You are preparing to evacuate and are packing up the "important" things. When do you stop and actually leave? There's always just one more thing you could add (as long as there is room).

    My wife and I talked about it when she first moved in and our intended plan is this: As long as we are on Pre-Evac, we can load stuff up. Once the Evac order come down, the only thing more that goes into the car is what we have in our hands and only then if it doesn't slow things down more than a few seconds. Throw a box into a trunk that is standing open and has to be closed anyway? Yes. Throw a box up top that now has to be tied down? No. The only excepts are people (definitely) and animals (as practicable -- if the dog is scared and won't come or be dragged, then dog becomes hot dog and we'll weep as we drive off and leave it).

    The basic reasoning is simple. It is too easy to think that you can get "one more thing", especially if the fire is not visible yet. So you need a line in the sand that you can objectively recognize has been crossed. The issuance of an Evac order is that line for us. Yes, it almost certainly is issued intentionally with a good padding in it. Yes, we could almost certainly load up a bunch more stuff and get out safely. But how much stuff? There were people that thought they had a half hour and were racing away from the flames in less than fifteen minutes. The simple fact is that there is no obect -- not a stack of "important papers", not a pile of cash, not a valuable gun, not a pile of jewelry, not a cherished wedding album, not irreplacable antiques or family heirlooms, not one damn thing -- that I will risk my wife's, my daughter's, or my own life in order to save.

    Now, saying that and meaning it is one thing. Actually abiding by it and not grabbing that "one last thing" is probably a different proposition. But given that we have exactly one way out for the first mile from our house, I suspect that neither my wife nor I will be in much of a mood to dally for much of anything.
  4. Metalmann

    Active Member

    Dec 8, 2012
    Glad you are OK.

    Living in those areas, it may be a good idea to keep a few BOBs, (Bug Out Bags)...ready and waiting.:cool:

    For when SHTF!
  5. WBahn

    Thread Starter Moderator

    Mar 31, 2012
    It is most definitely advisable.

    It is also a very good idea to decide ahead of time what will be taken with you and then make a list of those items, including where those items are supposed to be. As much as possible, keep as many of those things in the same location.

    Taking it a step further, a good part of Spring Cleaning should be a practice evacuation in which you actually get everything you intend to take and actually pack it up and get out of there. That way you learn how long it takes, whether everything actually fits (in the smallest vehicle you have, since you have to allow for the possibility that you may only have one car available -- you may not have any, but then the decision as to what to take becomes real easy), and whether you need to have rope or tarps or other things to actually deal with everything.

    I can't say that we have done much of this, but it is on our list of things we know we need to do.

    If I ever build a home or an addition, one of the things I intend to do is include an underground (more likely sideways into the hill) concrete fire room and simply keep the majority of these items in the room as their normal, proper, location. Then it becomes a matter of moving a few other items into the room, closing it up, and throwing the pre-packed bugout bags (kept in the fireroom so that you know exactly where they are) into the car and taking off.
  6. studiot

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 9, 2007
    My wife mentioned the new Colorado fires a day or so ago, she heard it on our local news, and it brought to mind the last episode.

    Glad you and the escape committe have a plan. I was going to suggest a buried secure place for valuables, but you got there before me.

    Vaya con dios