Well it may be simpler to write a blog about The Black Forest Fire than to text those who have written me tonight. As Matt wrote earlier, we spent alot of the day in town repack and sorting our storage unit. We worked in the heat and some smoke while we repacked unable to see the fire from our vantage point on the south side of the Springs. The bluffs we used to hike so often, were in our line of site.
We monitored the fires progression on the radio as we are living at the Air Force Academy just across the Interstate from the fire. With the unpredictable weather – relentless heat and gusty winds, there is no way to know where the fire will go or when. We have gone everywhere together (including Abby) and carried all of our “to go gear” with us in case we couldn’t get back home for whatever reason. The fire has doubled back on itself at least a couple of times in some of the hot spots so you don’t know what it will do. The alternative northern routes to Denver have been closed and requests have been made that the Interstate be avoided if at all possible. With over 38,000 people evacuated (some of them our friends) and the emergency crews, fire fighters, officials and news crews trying to get access to the places that others are trying to flee, it has been a challenge. Matt and I tried offering our assistance yesterday with evacuees coming onto the Air Force Academy but were told that we weren’t needed. We are trying to interact with some of those who have evacuated but they are quite closed off emotionally and are tough to engage. We will continue to reach out.
We have been working hard to get ourselves ready to leave on Monday and have had a group of things to complete as Matt wrote about below.
We are at peace with our place here though we keep one ear “to the ground” so to speak. The voluntary evacuations come as close as the other side of the Interstate but that is a very broad space and we have grass in that area mostly. It does not burn rapidly or discreetly as the trees and the forest ‘dust’-what officials call the floor with its ash, pine needles and cones. Our space is pretty defensible on the East side. We are not being arrogant but realistic. Our things are still packed and we could be out the door in 10 minutes, less if necessary. We thank you SO much for your prayers. We have had our ‘king pin’ off our trailer – the part that hooks to the truck since yesterday about the time the fire started. That was unnerving as we would not have been able to move the trailer if we were evacuated. The company that welded the pin for us, got it done early so on our way back from storage today, we picked it up and got it reinstalled. Praise God!
The evacuees keep coming so we ask you to pray for RAIN with no lightening or wind bursts. Ask the Lord to surround all those who are displaced. The cars of those arriving are full of all sorts of things, stuffed to the roof. Some of you have asked how you can pray. My first response is always to pray what is on your heart from the Lord. I will share a couple of things and you can follow your heart. We have unfortunately learned tonight that 2 people have perished as they tried to escape yesterday. I am sure that their family, friends and neighbors are grieving doubly – for any personal situation and then the loss of these two people. Many weren’t even home when the fire hit, some had children home alone and families took awhile to reunite. I saw kids today carrying around their stuffed animals, trying to deal with an uncertain situation. The community is rallying, citizens serving citizens but you see people jittery and on edge. Some here in our campground have swollen, reddened faces, they walk downcast. That is not usual in these military campgrounds. We are family. I want to hug them all and pray over them! Grace and mercy will be needed to rebuild. The firefighters are taking on 12 hour shifts and need strength. The fire commander and his team need wisdom. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts as you pray and lift all of us at this time. We will keep you posted. Love and blessings! (Matt’s story is below)