My Wildfire Evacuation – Waldo Canyon Fire

I’ve never been evacuated before in my life, until Tuesday. The worst natural disaster in the history of Colorado took place… and I was there.

The wildfire started on Saturday. We could see the smoke from where we live, but weren’t overly concerned about it. It was about 15 miles away. There was a lot of space for that fire to cover if it were to put us in any danger. We were warned that we could be evacuated, but no one (including the police and firefighters) thought it would actually come to that.

Fast forward to Tuesday. I was kind of disappointed that I hadn’t gotten any pictures of the fire. Either I didn’t have my camera with me when the interesting photo opportunities showed up, or it didn’t really show the intensity of the situation. All that changed in the afternoon. I went out on my balcony around 4pm and took some shots. You can see some of them here:

It got worse and worse. I had a visit from the “head honcho” asking me how I was doing and making sure I had a place to evacuate to if it became mandatory. I had already pretty much packed my bag just in case at that point. The building was becoming somewhat hazy from all the smoke, despite all doors/windows being closed and air conditioning on.

At 8pm we got the word to evacuate. The wind had shifted and we were now in danger. I was able to borrow a car from a friend and leave the city.

It felt like I was leaving an inferno. Flames and smoke were billowing into the air everywhere I looked to the west of the interstate. I had no idea if I would come back to a building or not, and even if the building was still standing, how bad the smoke damage would be. I was in emergency mode… cool, calm, collected, and doing what needed to be done. I drove the 1 1/2 hours to my nephew’s house.

This is where I evacuated to… my nephew’s basement where he does rock climbing practice. So now I can dream about rock climbing. I assure you, that would only be a dream, as I have no desire to actually do it! 🙂

I found out this evening that my building is safe although not completely out of danger yet. Such good news! Some people will be moving back in tomorrow. I think I’ll wait a little longer to go back.


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