Sunday morning I woke up to the news of a forest fire blazing near Manitou Springs. If you’ve never been to Colorado Springs, Manitou is a “suburb” of Colorado Springs; near Garden of the Gods and Red Rocks Canyon. The forest fire began Saturday afternoon in Waldo Canyon.
Waldo Canyon is one of our favorite places to hike. To get to the trail head, you have to take the highway west of Colorado Springs. The highway twists and turns around huge rock formations and you have to stay alert, because the small parking lot comes up unannounced and can easily be missed. It takes a bit of finesse to get into the parking lot without slowing down on the highway, but once there, you can hike into the woods and enjoy a gorgeous nine mile hike.
Here are some of the facts:
- There is no report as to what started the forest fire, but firemen from all over the USA have been dispatched to help stop it.
- Reports say that this is “the worst natural disaster in Colorado Springs in more than 30 years.”
- The fire has already destroyed more than 3,500 acres of forest and continues to blaze.
- Manitou Springs was evacuated on Saturday night, which caused 11,000 people to be removed from their homes. Thankfully, the residents of Manitou Springs were allowed to return on Sunday night, because the fire stopped spreading toward the city.
- As of Monday night, the fire was only 5% contained. It continues to burn and is moving in three different directions.
- The combination of record high temperatures and very low humidity is making perfect fire conditions. They’ve even closed most of the public parks in Colorado Springs to avoid new fires from starting.
There’s news of several C-130’s flying in today to drop retardant on the fire. These huge planes fly 150 feet off of the ground and will be able to drop double the amount of retardant that our current airplanes can handle.
It’s surreal to sit in our backyard and smell the burning forest and see the huge billows of smoke rising from the mountain. Our house is not in imminent danger and life seems to be continuing with barely a skip. It’s difficult to remember while running mundane weekly errands that there are men/women risking their lives to stop the forest fire just miles from our home.
At times I’ve wondered where God is in all of this. Though this fire has minimal containment and has been blazing for four days, not one home has been destroyed. No one has been injured and most importantly, no one has died. How amazing is that?!
I fear what will be left after this fire has eaten its way through the Rocky Mountains. Many people are still not allowed to return to their homes and the main highway west of Colorado Springs continues to be shut down. Also, we continue to have record breaking heat with the earliest respite coming this Sunday…
“But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.
Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.
For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield.”