On Fire in Colorado

You’ve probably heard about the wildfires in California, but Colorado has been on fire for three weeks. After lots of moisture in July, I discovered fields of lush wildflowers carpeting the mountains while backpacking. Then the humidity dropped. Violent thunderstorms arose and lightning struck the forests. Fires cropped up in the Rocky Mountains. Four wildfires continue to rage.

I took this unedited photo two nights ago.

As of today, August 21, the Pine Gulch fire near Grand Junction has burned 122,500 acres and is 17% contained. It is the second biggest Colorado fire on record.

The Grizzly Creek fire in Glenwood Canyon has scorched 29,000 acres and is 11% contained. That’s where Hanging Lake is located. So far, it has survived.

Why you should hike Hanging Lake in the Glenwood Canyon, Colorado. Waterfalls, lake, and great exercise!

Cameron Peak fire west of Fort Collins has burned 16,461 acres and is 0% contained.

Williams Fork fire near Colorado Springs has burned 9,457 acres and is 3% contained.

I’ve never seen anything like this. The Front Range, including Boulder and Denver, has been choked with smoke. Ash coats our seat cushions and tables outdoors. My weather app has sent out warnings about air quality. Masks are a great filter for harmful particulate matter.

Sunrise in Boulder County today. Doesn’t it look dark for 8:30 in the morning?

177, 418 acres have been turned to cinders in Colorado. Think of the size of our fires:

Manhattan is 14,600 acres.

The city of Boulder is 17, 510 acres.

Denver is 99,150 acres.

Chicago is 149,800 acres.

A thick, hazy, orange sunset over the foothills of Boulder, Colorado. The smoke from forest fires.

I’ve been gaging the thickness of the smoke by the view of the mountains. This morning, it covered the toes of the foothills and it lay in the Boulder Valley. I wondered if another fire had broken out.


Smoke is rolling in from the 250,000 acres on fire in California. Damn. This is our worst day by far.

The smoky skies fooled an owl into thinking it was dusk.

He looked at me as if I might be able to shed some light on what was going on. Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.

These photographs were taken mid-afternoon.

Sun obstructed by smoke in Boulder

My curious lampshade cranes its neck to see what the hubbub is all about.

I thought being isolated with the risk of getting COVID was bad enough.

A fiery sunset in Boulder county

I planned to take a bike ride this week, but that is not going to happen. It’s cool this morning. Temps will rise to the 90’s like they have every day for a while now and are supposed to continue through the weekend. There have been thunderstorms with lots of lightning and very little rain.

It might be time for a rain dance. It seemed to work eight years ago.

rain dancing on the deck

Do you live near a wildfire? How is the air quality where you live? Are you getting outdoors at all?

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