Our beautiful summer skies have been filled with smoke and ash the past 2 days as the High Park Wildfire just west of Fort Collins grows. Watching the expanse of the fire grow from a small plume to the large cloud of smoke encasing our town has been eerily surreal and puts my stomach in knots knowing that homes are being consumed and our precious foothills are being scarred terribly by mother nature’s flames. Today I was planning on sharing photos from a recent camping trip up at the local reservoir, an area that now, one week later, has been threatened by heavy wind carrying the fire south, forcing an immediate evacuation of the area’s residents and visitors yesterday afternoon. Sunday at work several friends and costumers came in after being evacuated from their homes, emotions tight and confused by the absolute quickness with which the fire moved. From feeling safe at home, to smoke filled rooms minutes later, flowed by Sheriff’s knocks and 10 minutes to say good-bye to almost everything they called home. Pets and loved ones and a few photo albums packed up, driving away as flames exploded on nearby hillsides. Others shared stories of witnessing the fleeing of wildlife, in herds running away from the encroaching fire, towards Fort Collins, fearful in flight mode. Some barely made it out, as evacuations higher in the canyon came too close for comfort. A co-worker’s girlfriend watched as fire ignited a case of propane tanks, driving away just as the explosion fueled the flames near her home. All these people are in safe places now, with loved ones in town and close friends, so I am thankful for officials’ efforts in evacuating threatened neighborhoods as quickly as possible, because it seems that with this fire every second counts. Today I just wanted to send my thoughts out to all those displaced and leaving their homes behind, victim to the ferociousness and unpredictability of this fire. I hope for the safety of all putting such brave efforts into fighting this fire both on the ground and in the air, I can’t begin to imagine the terrain and conditions that have to be tackled while facing these flames. I have faith that the Fort Collin’s community and government will continue to step up and offer every resources we have available while facing one of the worst wildfires this area of Northern Colorado has seen in years. More information on the fire can be read here or and update will be posted here.