For those of you who know I live in Boulder County, I am safe and sound. Thank you to those who reached out. I appreciate your concern. I’ve been concerned.
Since I’m in the mountains, these pictures are from other fires.
When checking out Twitter yesterday, I was alarmed when Boulder was trending. The Middle Fork Fire was located directly across the valley from our neighborhood. Since high winds were reported, I frantically scrolled to find up-to-the-second information.
By then, the Marshall Fire had exploded in a high-density neighborhood. 110 MPH winds blew down power lines. Subsequent sparks caused the inferno that engulfed Superior and Louisville south of Boulder. Reporters said that grassfires swept across dry fields at one hundred yards every ten seconds. Think about that…
Since I was in the mountains, I called a neighbor to find out if our neighborhood was safe. I wondered how long it would take to drive home. Would we be evacuated? She walked outside and said that the skies were clear in Niwot but were black in the south.
She said a friend of ours was in Costco when the fire started. In the time it took to get from the building to his car, his eyes burned and his face was black with soot above his mask. Whoa.
The wind velocity in Niwot only hit 70 MPH.
Yep, that’s not bad at all.
This video captured 90 MPH gusts in February 2012. A small fire broke out, but snow lay on the ground.
Years ago, we lost a 250-pound trampoline to 120 MPH winds. 120! No lie.
I watched from my kitchen window as the tramp lifted once, twice, and then skipped across the backyard and soared like a kite up the block. To see where it landed, I stepped into the backyard, but the wind blasted me. I had to force my way forward. The giant trampoline took a breather in a tree outside a neighbor’s picture window a few doors down.
With projectiles flying sideways, I drove my car around the corner and parked. When I opened the door, the force of the wind nearly ripped it from the frame — The wind ruined other vehicle doors that day, tossed semi-trucks like toys, sheered light fixtures, and blew everything not anchored down to the Land of Oz.
Our new trampoline hung precariously from a limb. The wall of wind velocity kept me from pulling it down. With a knife clutched in my hand, I slashed and hacked the brand new toy like Norman Bates.
Hurricane-force winds are not uncommon for this time of year. But, Boulder County is in an unprecedented severe drought. We’ve had one inch of snow, equal to one-tenth of an inch of rain, so far this season. That combination proved devastating yesterday.
I reached out to several evacuated friends last night. Governor Polis suspects the wildfire incinerated one thousand homes. 1000! People started their return to their properties this afternoon.
UPDATE: My friend’s home near Target was spared. YAY!
A photo from October 2020.
We will also find out the fate of several businesses. The Superior Target and Costco shopping center suffered extensive damage. One of my friends is concerned about her husband’s small business on Marshall Road. Livelihoods could be up in smoke too. How will managers, business owners, and their employees make money?
Imagine the mental state of these people. Most left their homes with the clothes on their backs.
While scrolling through the #Marshallfire Twitter feed, I found a great article written by Carolynn Spezza:
How to help those who have lost their homes:
Do not send fire victims a bunch of random crap (my words). Instead, be thoughtful about what you donate. Think about what you would wear, what you would need if you suddenly had NOTHING.
Kids need toys and books.
Gift cards are a lifesaver.
As with most tragedies, it’s TIME that victims value the most. Take a walk with your friend and listen. BUT, don’t tell them how lucky they are to be alive, and they only lost things. Many items cannot be replaced. She says it can take years for some insurance companies to payout. It’s hard if the house next door stands unharmed when yours has turned to ash.
Losing everything is traumatizing.
If you are asked to go through the remains of the fire, realize that it is sacred and solemn ground. “Move slowly,” Spezza says.
Carolynn Spezza offers fifteen tips, so be sure click to her article to find out more.
My husband spoke to a friend who lost his family home to the fire in the October photo above. They only had minutes to evacuate. He suggests, for now, they will need hugs and warmth. In a week, housing and food. In a month, someone to help them process the shock.
Other suggestions included gift baskets filled with prepared food items if requested and donations to LOCAL non-profits. I found the Boulder County Wildfire Fund. They have the infrastructure to handle devastation like this.
Boulder County is a strong community. There will be an outpouring of support initially, but we need to remember that healing from loss can take a long time. We will need to reach out one month, two months, three months from now.
Keep the Marshall Fire victims in your prayers. I will. The first few weeks will be rough. If you would like to make a donation, use the link above.
I hope 2022 is a heck of a lot better.
Happy New Year!
Again, here is the donation site, where your money will be well spent: Boulder County Wildfire Fund