Vacation Turns Into A Blaze – #WaldoCanyonFire

Little did I know the picture below was the beginning of a tragedy with no clear end in sight.  If you follow this blog, you might have noticed we’ve been a little bit quiet lately.  We took a vacation last week to Denver and Colorado Springs.

Viola and I had just left the Manitou Springs, west of Colorado Springs, and we were at the Air Force Academy when this picture was taken.  We had no idea the thin white plume in the background was the beginning of the Waldo Canyon Fire. It feels eerie.

An hour later, we left the Air Force Academy and we took this photo simply wanting a landscape photo of the photo with the Chapel, football stadium and the campus in a single shot with the beautiful mountains in the background.   Today, we learned this area was being evacuated because the blaze has grown from 100 acres to more than 13,000 acres.

As we left the academy, another tourist informed us the Garden of the Gods was evacuated.  As we left we had no idea what to expect because our hotel was one mile away or so from the landmark.

Unsure of what to do, we had all of our things and left to continue enjoying our vacation. Two hours after we took the previous photo, this is how the scene looked. Just a mile or two away, subdivisions were evacuating and passed by the high school that was now harboring evacuees with the Red Cross on hand.

We managed to stay overnight at the hotel, but by the next day the fire had doubled in size. It was our time to return to the Denver airport, where our vacation began, to return home. Viola and I drove away heartbroken by the scene, and almost guilty for leaving when others simply couldn’t.  We took these photos from the car as we drove down I-25, the highway which yesterday was under a smoke-filled haze.

Since leaving the area, we continue to follow the story and hope Mother Nature will bring much-needed rain to the area to help firefighters on the ground and families on the run. Adding insult to injury is the prospect this fire was manmade.  Earlier last week, firefighters had suspicions a serial arsonist was on the loose.

Today, the scene looked like this – horrifying.

We’ve never asked any of my readers to give to anything, but having just come from there, we just can’t help but support the people we were surrounded by and help them any way we can.  We’ve given what we can, and will likely give more after pay-day.

To support the region, give to the Colorado Pikes Peak Chapter of the Red Cross and/or the Pikes Peak Humane Society.  Unfortunately, shelters don’t allow pets, which why we’re suggesting the Humane Society as well.  Giving nationally, won’t necessarily go to local chapters, which are the areas currently in need.

For more details and images of the fire, visit KKTV.com, one the local stations.

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