Thursday, June 28, 2012

Colorado Burning-Why I’ve Been MIA

It just occurred to me this morning that I haven’t blogged in weeks, but I have good reason.  Our lives have been put on hold because we have a house in the High Park Fire-15 miles west of Ft. Collins.  My SO’s childhood home.  A place we call “The Hill”.  Many memories and treasures contained within. 

Jim was in Wisconsin visiting his sister.  I was blissfully oblivious, involved in my Saturday morning routine.  I get a call.  It’s Jim.  “Hey, what’s going on with this fire up on The Hill?”  “What fire?”, I replied.   “I just got a reverse 911 call on my cell phone saying we have to evacuate!”, he says.  “I didn’t hear anything about it.  I haven’t had the TV on yet today.  Been doing stuff around the house.”

Long story short, I turned on the TV to see what was rapidly becoming a serious threat.  We’ve had fires up there before and gotten pre-evacuation notices a few times, but this time, the evacuation was mandatory and the threat was very near. 

Jim took off the next morning and began heading home.  He drove straight through and slept in his car in Ft. Collins, hoping to get some news.  He found out where the evacuation center was and that was about it.  They couldn’t tell us anything about the house.  Now we understand what it means to have closure on a situation….good or bad.

We were attending the citizen briefings which were held daily at The Ranch in Loveland and it was two weeks  before we got word on the status of the house.  They took the Davis Ranch residents off to the corner of the room behind black screens to see this list.

White means your home burned down.  Green means they haven’t been able to get in to assess it, and yellow means it’s still standing.


Chopp Court!  Still standing!  Our house and our dear neighbor’s house were both still standing. 

Our happiness was tempered by the fact that we weren’t out of the woods yet… pun intended.  There were still active fires all around us that could still come around and get us. 

So began another waiting game.  When will the evacuation be lifted? 

We spent many hours at the evacuation center talking with our neighbors and making new friends.  There’s always a silver lining.  We met with neighbors who had lost their homes, but most were in a positive frame of mind all things considered. 

This gentleman below is one of Jim’s long time friends and neighbors and he lost his house, but he was in good spirits.   We sat with him this day for a few hours and I listened as  he and Jim conversed about the years on the mountain and their time in the service. 

Love that crazy mustache!


Hundreds of people file in to the briefings each day to hear about the fate of their homes and when they might be able to go back.


Here’s a photo I took when we were leaving the briefing one day.


Today, the wait is finally over.  We are being allowed to go back in this afternoon.  Well, Jim is anyway.  I have to work and won’t be able to go in until Saturday, but I will be taking pictures to share with you all here.  It’s going to be very sobering to see, I am sure.  The land will be stripped of its former beauty, I fear.

But, we are all alive and safe!

Talk to you soon,


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