It has been a wild couple of days here in Boulder, my hometown. On Labor Day, at about 11 am a fire started in the nearby mountains. The area, four-mile canyon, is very steep, rocky and very dry. We have had much hot weather and that day was VERY windy.
Apparently, a propane truck on its way up this canyon got into trouble. There are varying reports, but some say the truck was hit by another vehicle. Suddenly, there was a spark that took off. (At this point, we still do not know much about the cause or the wellbeing of the drivers of these vehicles.)
I came driving down Boulder canyon from Nederland yesterday at about 10:45 a.m. There was a police car at the turnoff to four-mile, but I didn’t think much of it. At the top of this road is a magical place called Gold Hill, and I knew there were parties up there. Perhap they were out of parking?
When I reached Boulder, about 3 miles later, it was as if someone had dimmed the lights. I could smell the smoke and see it in the air. Ashes were fluttering down like snow. I live very close to these fires as the crow flies, but there are a few nice ridges between here and there for protection. I quickly packed with the intention of heading back up to Nederland for some clean air. Unfortunately, by that time, Boulder Canyon was closed. In driving around via Coal Creek canyon, I had this view.This photo show the Boulder Flatirons with the fire emerging from behind. The smoke is spilling over the city of Boulder. You can see how dry the fields are.
I drove down Boulder Canyon around 8:30. The air was clear until I reached Sugarloaf turnoff – it was blocked – where it suddenly became very smokey and dim. Above is just south of the Fourmile turnoff.
Isn’t it eerie?
I stopped in at the news conference at the justice center – mission headquarters – at 9 am. On my way to the news conference, i saw this bumper sticker. What people may not know is that the area where the fire broke out is peppered with volunteer fire departments. People living up there are aware that this danger exists and have taken many precautions to avoid a tragedy like this. They invest in equipment, they train, they are organized.
Commander Brough at the news conference this morning. He really didn’t have much to add. There is still no talk of containment. The area has remained the same – most of the new burning is happening within the initial boundaries. No fatalities. No injuries. Nine planes were hoping to take off at 8 am, but hadn’t due to poor visibility. It’s now almost 11 and i can hear the planes making laps.
At the news conference, the media lined the front row, but close behind were the frightened evacuees trying to get information about their homes. I was frustrated with the news coverage and wanted to get the information first hand.
(Don’t get me started on this. Last pm, listening to the police radio, it was apparent that some refused to evacuate. I get so angry hearing this. These people are putting not only themselves in danger, but also the first responders who may be called upon to rescue them later. Sheesh.)
No information about homes yet. Cmdr Brough said that teams were going in to evaluate. Next news conference at noon. The incident commander will appear at the 4 pm conference, so I imagine that’s when the real information will start to flow.