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Friday, June 14, 2013
Flames Lead to Heroes!
~~As of right now, the source for this photo is unknown.
It has been a hectic week here! We live in Colorado...not far from Royal Gorge and just South of Colorado Springs. On Tuesday, I saw a Facebook post about the Royal Gorge fire. I thought, "As in the bridge??". Long story short, I walked outside, near my neighbors house and this is what I saw:
~~Source: Khrysti Cantrell, the home in the photo belongs to our neighbor.
The fire, at that time, about an hour after being reported, had already taken down about 80-100 acres with ZERO containment. We watched and stressed and shared as the fire spread, striking down nearly everything in it's path. We prepared some things in case we had to evacuate. The wind kept blowing stronger and making us seriously worry for everyone's safety here. Less than 15 blocks away, they evacuated one of our local prisons to ensure it could be done in a calm, orderly fashion and they didn't have to rush. About 20 minutes after coming home from a trip to the store, I walked back outside and the air was filled with smoke and raining ash.
We watched as THOUSANDS of acres were burned, many people and animals were evacuated from their homes and, further still, some people completely lost their homes. We thought, many times over, that we would have to evacuate but did our best to help with the Fire Fighters, animal relocation, food needed for those animals and more. I was really moved by how two communities came together to help one another. People from all over the world, friends of mine, consistently sent messages, texts, posts on Facebook asking if we were okay, had what we needed or had a place to go.
There were days I was really worried about the winds blowing the fire here and making us evac. The one thing that remained constant for me was that I planned to take things we couldn't replace, like photos, things made for my children, etc. and leave the rest behind. In my mind, EVERYTHING else could be replaced. If we have the pics and trinkets we valued most and left with our lives and health in tact, we were ahead of this fire and we would beat it.
The first night, we walked a total of ABOUT 30 blocks in the smoke and ash to make sure a friend's ill Mom was okay because she couldn't be reached by phone. The streets were empty, most street lights weren't on. It was an eerie feeling throughout our entire town. Over the next few days, we coordinated as much as possible with ANYONE who wanted to help. We managed to get Hay to horses who were evacuated, food and drinks to Fire Fighters and food/other care items for small animals evacuated because of the fires. <3
The fires are not out yet BUT we are at 30% containment in Colorado Springs and 40% containment in Royal Gorge. Many structures we lost but most everyone is safe!! Colorado Springs has lost about 10,000 acres. We (Royal Gorge) lost approximately 3,100 acres. We did, sadly, find the remains of two folks among the debris from the fires and their remains are being identified to notify family. Their demise is being investigated but is suspected to be as a result of the fire. May they Rest in Paradise. <3 <3 We send our love and prayers to their family and friends! <3
I must say, our Fire Fighters did a TREMENDOUS job of keeping all of us safe and tried to save as many structures as possible! No words could express how grateful we are for them, their commitment and diligence. We truly appreciate them more than we can express. Some people say that our little tourist town is now ruined and some are worried about our local economy now. We WILL rebuild and we have a LOT to offer the public/tourists in the mean time. We are NOT ruined and we will rise to help our little town recover, just as we did to help those affected. It is true that "Community Doesn't Burn Down"!!
~~Source: This photo was seen posted on one of our local highways. No one is sure who put it there!