In the 17 years I've lived in Boulder, there have been quite a few wild fires in Colorado that received national attention. I often get emails from friends and relatives wondering of those fires are any where near me, and fortunately the answer has mostly been "no". About 8 years ago there was a small fire on the other side of the mountains from me that blew smoke into my house for several days. And early last year there was a brush fire on the north side of Boulder (I live on the south) whose flames I could easily see from my neighborhood.
Yesterday I was driving home from running some errands about 11am when I noticed a large plume of smoke coming from what appeared to be the mountains just west of downtown Boulder. As the day went on, the plume got bigger, until it was visible from all over the Denver metro area. Fortunately for my neighborhood, the wind was blowing the smoke north of us, but Kip was swimming on the north side of town, and had ashes falling on her in the pool around noon. Latest reports this morning are that 3500 acres have burned. Last night, I could see the flames from my neighborhood, and the area had an orange smokey glow over it. And the wind changed, so I awoke in middle of the night smelling smoke.
This fire poses no threat to my home, but it does to some friends of mine. The little town of Gold Hill, where I perform in murder mysteries during the summer and fall, is right in the middle of the area evacuated by the fire. And my friends Dave and Maggie who run the company that puts on the murders live in the town, and have been evacuated. Maggie said the fire was on the ridge near their house when they left, and they seem to believe their house will not be there when they go back.
It makes you think. If you had about a half hour to grab stuff from your house and run, what would you take? And what would you do if it is gone? I'm hoping this is a question my friends won't have to answer.