July 4, 2012
Last week there was a fire in the foothills of south Boulder, about 1.5 miles from us. We were under pre-evacuation notice for about 24 hours. Thanks to the work of aerial and ground firefighters, the fire is now 90% contained. This was the hottest June on record in Denver, and the 3rd or 4th driest season in Colorado, so conditions were right (there are 11 active fires in Colorado right now). Although not as destructive or threatening as the more high-profile High Park Fire in Ft. Collins or the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs, this fire (Flagstaff Fire) was close to home for us. At one point, we could see flames coming over the ridge from our bedroom window.
The experience of packing up to get ready to evacuate was thought-provoking. We don't have a land line or TV, so we had to rely on the Internet for information. We don't have a car so we packed our pannier bags and trailer for the dog to be ready to bike to a friends house if necessary; although, we have great friends that offered to come pick us up in their van if necessary.
The fire also made me realize the luxury of air conditioning. We have an air conditioner, but usually don't need to use it. With the combination of 100+°F heat and smoke in the air, having air conditioning was much appreciated. It made me think about the health impacts of a fire for people who don't have air conditioning or if there's a power outage and people are forced to open their windows to try to cool down.