Has the High Park fire just outside Fort Collins, CO been all over the news where you live? It's all over the news here, and all over some of our other senses, too—it isn't far away, which makes it hard to ignore. We first spotted it a few hours after it began on June 9; it looked like a little speck of a grass fire from Cheyenne, and the smell was very, very strong. By day 2, it looked like this from base:
It's been ruled a lightning strike fire, and spread from 0-2000 acres in a few hours. We had a few days of 30+ mph sustained wind and scorching hot temperatures, which spells utter disaster for a fast-growing fire with plenty of dead pine to fuel it, caused by a few years of devastating pine beetle infestation.
Some days the smoke/smell here isn't quite as noticeable, and some days it's just awful. There was a day last week where all of our eyes were burning painfully by the end of the day, and our entire house smelled like a campfire. Today was one of those days again; high winds, 90+ degrees outside, no rain in sight. The smoke blew in again today between 1:30-2:00 and just hung over the city of Cheyenne:
We went into the library about 1:40 and it was fine, just the new hazy to the south and normal everywhere else. When we came out of the library about 2:30 it was green-grey-yellowish. It doesn't take much for the wind to have a big effect.
This is what it looked like from the same spot at sunset tonight, day 14. It's another burning-eyes night here; I can't even imagine what it must be like 40 minutes down the road. In just two weeks this fire has become the worst fire in Colorado history, burning over 68,000 acres, with almost 200 homes destroyed; it's 55% contained, and they hope to have it controlled by the fall. Days like today are not helping any, though, with more 90+ degree temps and high winds.
About 15 minutes later. That's Gracie's (and Bridget's) school in the picture.
Here is a great collection of images from The Denver Post. There are a lot of people working very hard in terrible conditions day in and day out to keep this from getting worse. If you have any rain to spare, send it our way...