Three months ago, my quiet little town of 140,000 people woke to a plume of smoke rising above the hills, catching the wind to Wyoming and Nebraska. The High Park Fire exploded that day, and the next, and the next, burning the foothills forest northwest of my town and throughout the beloved Cache La Poudre Canyon, taking with it nearly 300 homes located within the these areas.
Now maybe most people feel fear, anxiety, or sadness when an uncontrolled wildfire rips through an area, particularly when their home is at risk of being lost. I can only imagine how my friend who lives in one of the evacuated areas was feeling those 2 weeks that he was waiting to hear if he would have a home to go back to; how do you quickly accept the fact that you may lose the house you have bought and the land you have worked on for so many years at any moment?
But, if you know me or have read my blogs, you know that I am not most people.
If only I could share with you the adrenaline rush that I experienced when I first saw the smoke plume that Saturday morning! It was as if a spark had been lit beneath me and I became extremely restless and anxious. Not in a stressful way but in a hyper-excited, curious way where for 2 weeks I obsessively thought about the fire, watched the fire, and talked about the fire. I was practically dancing around with joy, informing all who would listen that regeneration was going to be allowed to finally occur and is this not THE MOST exciting thing that has happened to the local ecosystem in years??!! How INCREDIBLE that we are able to witness an event such as this in our lifetimes!! I could not get close enough to it, I could not stop photographing it, I could not wait to get near it to watch its power, see the magnitude, and experience its ability to change the landscape as we have known it.
Please enjoy the photos that I have taken to capture this grand event. Photos that are close to the fire were taken on the north edge of the Cache La Poudre Canyon less than 1 mile away, just south of where the fire jumped the canyon from south to north side at Steven’s Gulch. The other photos were taken either from a friends’ house 2 miles away from the fire or somewhere between 5-30 miles away. Please do not pilfer the photos, as I prefer that you just share my blog page with those whom you would like to see them.