Colorado is burning

You know that burning wood smell you get when you go camping. Well Denver smells like that right now. Just came inside and there’s this haze under all the street lights. It’s going to be a long summer for Colorado firefighters.

I can deal with the smell, but the sickly, orange-grey, end of the world color that the sunlight was at noon was really depressing.

Hope this is under control soon. I wouldn’t want anyone to have to go through the kind of bushfire season we had here last summer.

Yea, when I first looked up today around 3:30 (I work nights) I couldn’t even see the sun. 1/2 hour later, it poked through the smoke and was about this color :mad:

Really weird looking

I’ll second that. Last Southern summer, the fires had Sydney completely surrounded. Even in the centre of the city, visibility was down to a few metres, the sun glowed a weird deep red, and leaves and ash fell from the sky like rain. I could see haze indoors fifty kilometres from the fires. It got a bit unnerving at the height of it. So for everyone in Colorado, we know exactly what it’s like. In fact, just seeing the title of this thread brought it all back to me.

I also have to say that the Dopers were fantastic to us during the December bushfire crisis down here. There were several support threads (unfortunately lost in the crash) which were just brilliant. So to all the Colorado Dopers, stay safe, keep your kids and the elderly indoors and out of the smoke haze as best you can, and follow all the safety procedures which you, like the Aussies, probably know by heart. Especially listen to the emergency workers and fire crews if you have any contact with them. You’re probably dealing with pine forests, so the front of the fire can move frighteningly fast. If the authorities give evacuation orders, it’s for a reason.

Good luck. Sydney is thinking of you.

I don’t think many people outside of Colorado realize the extent of the drought that’s going on there now. We’d heard about it from my in-laws there but were still surprised at the brown pastures, lack of snow on the peaks and the low levels of mountain reservoirs.

The rivers and irrigation canals in the plains are as low as people have seen in their lifetimes. Many ranchers I talked to have already sold all their cow/calf pairs, something usually not done until fall.

This is really hurting those dependant upon the land for their livelyhood and will fundamentally change the economy of some towns for yeras to come.

It’s not just the farmer and rancher that are hurting, it’s everyone associated with them and that group is absolutely enormous. I really really hope they get some relief soon.

We don’t have air conditioning, so we had all the windows open while we left the house to go to our local carnival. We were gone for about 3 hours, and when we came home, there was a light layer of ash on our counters and floor. Of course, it was about 95 degrees here so we had to decide to have a hot house, or an ash-filled house. We picked a hot house and closed the windows just to cracks.

It was really weird yesterday–all day it looked like sunset, everything was orange. It was like nuclear winter. I couldn’t believe the layer of ash on my car! Glad we have a/c so we can stay indoors. Even being outside for 10 minutes to walk to work today has totally kicked in my allergies and my eyes are itching like crazy!

Are they still saying the fire down south is 0% contained?

Channel 7’s website says that so far the Hayman fire has burned 60,850 acres and doesn’t mention any containment. Ugh.

Containment is at 5% according to the Forest Service. They don’t seem to be expecting it to get any more than that anytime soon though, and that 5% is at the southern end. They’re focusing on getting evacuations in place right now, but that’s about all they’ve got going that seems to be effective. It’s too windy over most of it to get the slurry bombers up.

And I’m at the northern end of an area under an evacuation warning, so I get to be ready to flee whenever I’m told to. :frowning:

So if I am planning a weeklong trip to Estes Park (and/or Denver to arrive there 6/17), will I have any problems. Or should I just bring plenty of hotdogs, marshmallows, and really long roasting sticks?

I was in Estes Park yesterday, and as long as the fires stay to the south I think you’ll be fine. We didn’t notice a thing in Rocky Mountain National Park most of the day. Towards the end of the day we saw some far-off clouds that may have been smoke, but hard to tell.

Here in Longmont (about 40 miles north of Denver) it’s hazy. It could easily just be a hazy day, except that I was coughing all morning and my eyes have been itchy all day. Last night we had a weird sunset - an apolytical orange-pink light filed the house. Very weird.

I just read that they’re talking about evacuating the south Denver suburbs. Yowza! I’ve never heard of a fire getting anywhere near close to Denver!

Jeez, according to a Denver Post article it’s 10 miles away from the southwest suburbs and moving toward Denver at 1 mile an hour.

See my pit post for those Coloradoans that wanna unleash on the jerks that started the large fire.

Even here in C Springs the smell in the early morning hours was horrible. I had my windows and doors open because it was too hot yesterday. While we aren’t as bad off as Denver Metro, it’s been pretty stinky around here.

BTW, here’s an image of the fires from satellite as of 7:03 pm Sunday night. Pretty wild.

My eyes are tearing up just reading about this.

In the end, rain proved to be our salvation (along with Elvis). We’ll all be praying that the heavens open up on Colorado some time really soon.

It shouldn’t need saying but, please guys, think about the things you might want to take with you if you have to evacuate and pack that stuff now.

Reprise is correct. If there’s even the remotest possibility that your area is in danger, have the car fueled up, and the trunk pre-packed with everything you need if you have to leave in a hurry. Make sure the kids are clued up on what to do in a quick evacuation (ie. that favourite teddy bear should ALREADY be in the car, and the child should know it’s there). Try to have pets sent to friends and relatives in advance. Clean up any debris and junk around your yard. Plug the external drainpipes leading from your roof, and fill the gutters with water from your garden hose. Also stuff wet rags into any holes or vents in and around your roof (this is starting to sound like the Desiderata). Many of the houses that are lost in fires go because hot sparks have been blown under the eaves.

If the authorities recommend you evacuate, then do it. If you do decide to stay and try to protect your property, have every available container you can get your hands on filled with water. If the fire crews are in your street, they need all the mains water pressure they can get, so that’s when you turn the garden hose off, and get the bucket brigade from the bath tub happening.

And of course, if the firestorm overtakes you when you’re in the car (yes, a fire front can move at highway speeds), don’t try to outrun it. Pull over, turn the engine off, close the windows, and stay in the car. The gas tank won’t explode. Stay low, cover your mouth and nose with a cloth, and you’ll be able to ride it out. It’ll be hot and uncomfortable, but probably safe.

That’s about all I can remember from the NSW Bush Fire Brigade stuff now. :smiley:

A map so you can plan or alter your evacuation route sounds prudent. If you’re in a populated area, there should be a coordinated effort but if you’re urban, it may become essential.

The (admittedly relatively minor) problem with rain is that it would ruin Denver’s water. The fire surrounded Cheesman Resevoir, which supplies over 60% of the water to Denver. If it rains, all of the remnants of fire (soot, particulate, etc.) will go straight into that.

For anyone interested, one of the best sites for updates and such is They seem to have the best coverage I have found with regards to Colorado news and especially with regards to the fires. The other place is Sadly, Colorado Springs news sites suck.

I’m driving to Denver tomorrow on business. I’ll be there the remainder of the week, then spending the weekend with a buddy in Central City. Sounds like it will be an interesting trip.

techchick68, that satellite photo was amazing.

Good luck to all the Denverites. I lived downwind of the Yellowstone fires of 1988, so I can sympathize with your situation.