Over 30,000 people have now been evacuated from Colorado Springs. A fire that started as a plume of smoke on Saturday afternoon has turned into devastation unlike anything I've ever seen. This morning, I looked outside to see the same haze over the mountains that I've seen for a few days now. I turned on the news to see that the Waldo Canyon Fire was 5% contained. Five percent. Well, that's better than yesterday... yesterday it was 0%.
We went to Kennedy and Keeghan's dance class and all seemed to be about the same... as we drove South I saw more of what my friends were seeing... more smoke... some flames... but no structures had been lost. This was good. The firefighters would get it under control. Surely.
Half way through dance, we got a phone call and it was suggested that we might all want to leave... then a little panic took over and the tone was more like, "No really... leave!" I packed the kids up and we walked out to smoke and ash... everywhere. What happened?! A friend warned me to stay off the Interstate, so I took surface streets home watching our skyline get more orange and darker.... I turned on my headlights, even though it was the middle of the day. Cars were crawling along with me... some packed to the ceiling with "stuff". I am guessing it's stuff they felt was important. Pictures... important papers... favorite memories... I don't know.
By the time I got to my street, the sky looked like this...
As the night went on and I watched the news... devastation struck. Houses started to burn. Those 3,000 people who were evacuated? Some of them no longer have homes. And the Waldo Canyon Fire jumped into Colorado Springs. They are saying that even though it doesn't appear windy to us down here on the ground, up there, where the fire is, it IS windy... and those 65mph winds have changed directions 3 times which has sent the flames blazing over 600 acres.
The Red Cross has set up evacuation centers all over our city. People are pulling together and the firefighters are out there battling... they're trying their best to contain this thing and save as many homes, and more importantly, lives, as they can.
Tonight, we sat and watched images come across our television and our computer like this...
And all we could do was pray... we prayed for the firefighters. We prayed for the families who no longer have homes. We prayed that no lives would be lost. We prayed for rain. Lots and lots of rain. I have no doubt that eventually the firefighters will get this under control, and then our city will pick back up and start rebuilding once again... just like Clarksville did when we were flooded out.
Right now, our home is safe. We are fine. And we are so thankful for that. I don't know what the future holds, but our house is more central, away from the mountains, and I think we'll be fine. Thank you to everyone who has checked in on us! I do appreciate it so much!! Because of the thick smoke and poor air quality, we have decided to head out of town for California a little early. We have some friends whose kids have become quite sick from the smoke in the air, and when I got home tonight Kennedy started coughing pretty badly. I don't want to mess with it if we don't have to. So, in the morning (or later this morning really since it IS already morning) we will head out of Colorado Springs and start driving to California for our vacation. Frank was able to change his plans and fly straight into CA when it's time for his R&R, so he will just meet us there.
Please be praying for safe travel for us, but mostly be praying for our city and the amazing people who live here. Be praying for our firefighters as they battle this blaze. Be praying for those who have lost everything and have to start over. My heart breaks for them. Just be praying for Colorado Springs.