Day 5 of Waldo Canyon Fire evacuation: Blaze engulfs homes/historic ranch; 32k total evacuated; more dangerous winds, heat ahead; Day 6: Surviving
Update: June 28 – It’s Day 6 of life as evacuees for the Malkins. We’re all together and safe. Our house remains in one of the most threatened areas of the city, but it is still standing for now. As we keep reminding the kids since we were displaced on Saturday, a house is not a home. We’re doing our best to make a home for them wherever we stay as we live day to day. Sorry if I haven’t returned your e-mails or calls. Doug is covering all the big news of the day for you here at michellemalkin.com and the Twitchy team continues to keep you ahead of the curve on all the Twitter breaking news and news that should be news. I continue to post fire-related links and updates on my Twitter feed here. Thanks for all your kind words, well wishes, and offers of shelter! Please pray for Colorado, and especially the firefighters, pilots, emergency personnel, and support staff on the front lines battling the Waldo Canyon fire and all the other fires raging across the West.
Twitter panorama photo from last night via @megzenger
Via Matt Meister, StormTracker 13, from the front lines 2:15am MT Wednesday morning in Mountain Shadows
Screenshot last night of home burning via KKTV11news
Twitter photo yesterday via @dbfarmer
Twitter photo yesterday afternoon via @RylieLarimer
Yesterday was the most horrific day since the Waldo Canyon Fire outbreak forced thousands of us out of our homes. My family is on Day 5. As I first told you over the weekend, our neighborhood is and remains on mandatory evacuation. Thanks to a compassionate CSPD officer, we were finally able to get the kids’ parakeets out of the house (it’s standing for now). Unfortunately, one of the birds died of smoke inhalation Tuesday afternoon. The kids are crushed. But we are thankful to be alive and grateful for the extraordinary efforts of first responders, police, fire, military, non-profits, individual volunteers, private philanthropists, and corporate/civic support.
There are now some 32,000 other evacuees throughout Colorado Springs.
An estimated 6,200 acres have burned. [UPDATE 8:15am MT - Now estimated at 15,000+ acres] The first structure loss took place yesterday afternoon as winds swept the blaze suddenly through the Mountain Shadows area. The historic Flying W Ranch burned to the ground, as did many homes. Listening to the scanner traffic overnight, fire/emergency personnel from all over Colorado were working hard to put out brush fires and embers; salvage burning homes; tend to residents suffering from fire-related respiratory and heart problems; and hold the lines.
I communicated with KKTV meteorologist Brian Bledsoe last night on Twitter; he is very concerned that thunderstorms predicted for Wednesday afternoon will cause more dangerous outflow winds and lightning than wetting rain. These are the kinds of conditions that led to the swift and terrible perimeter-jumping sweep Tuesday afternoon that consumed countless homes and prompted the evacuation of an additional 7,000 residents.
The uplifting news: So, so many have stepped up to the plate to help. The lead story right now isn’t about what government is doing. It’s about what individuals, churches, companies, and community groups/organizations — the countless, voluntary associations and “little platoons” of civil society that Edmund Burke praised — are doing.
Just a few examples:
*On Craigslist, scores of residents are offering their homes/space to evacuees.
*The Antlers’ Hotel opened its ballroom to scores of evacuees Tuesday night.
*The Springs Church was a critical evacuation staging area for Mountain Shadows on Tuesday afternoon. The Mountain Springs Church welcomed 250 Summit camper evacuees earlier in the week.
*The El Pomar Foundation has made more than $200,000 in emergency grants to assist fire victims.
*The local Taco Bell franchises donated 1,000 burritos to feed firefighters.
*Wal-Mart has donated several truckloads of water and ice for rescue workers, as well as fans to the Humane Society to keep evacuated pets cool.
*Care and Share, Red Cross, and United Way are at or in excess capacity for volunteer staffing.
Best ways to help? Visit Help Colorado Now.
We are not alone. As I noted in my column last week — before it became personal — wildfires have been raging across the West all summer. And the fire season is just getting started.
The latest outside Colorado:
Brutal wildfires across the West have put tourist destinations from Montana to New Mexico in danger just at the height of midsummer family road-trip season, putting cherished Western landscapes at risk along with hordes of vacationers.
…In central Utah, a wildfire in an area dotted with vacation cabins was burning an estimated 39 square miles and threatening about 300 homes. Firefighters had that blaze at 10 percent containment Monday. The Sanpete County Sheriff’s office has said that as many as 30 structures may have been lost.
And in New Mexico, firefighters Monday were mopping up a small wildfire that threatened one of that state’s top tourist attractions, El Santuario de Chimayo, a 19th century church north of Santa Fe. The church draws some 300,000 visitors a year and appeared to be out of danger Monday.
Like so many others in our situation, we are counting our blessings and still taking things one day, one hour, one minute at a time.
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