Skip to main content

Mandatory Evacuation! (with updates)

Update 1925 MDT: It bothers me that the town of South Fork is visually disappearing because of the smoke. It's only 1.5 miles away. Nor can I see the Verizon tower on the nearby mountain.

But I can't see any flames. Maybe that will have to wait until sunset. Will house lights and street lights be visible tonight?

The town is so quiet, so empty.

Update 1644 MDT: Are they serious? The fire is supposed to only be 2-3 miles west of South Fork, CO), which means 3-4 miles from me! It was 20 miles away this morning. There are so many government emergency workers these days, and so many weather websites and cable news channels. It makes sense that there would be exaggeration. But I don't want to be complacent, either.

Anyway, when I read this latest news it reminded me of the shock of people in Atlanta, in "Gone With the Wind": first they couldn't believe "Yankees in Georgia!" Then they couldn't believe that Atlanta would be taken and burned down.

By the way,  Verizon 3G wireless internet speeds up considerably when a town evacuates.

Update 1500 MDT: my new campsite (just east of South Fork, CO) is safer than the old one, for about four reasons. I can monitor the emergency news. If the internet croaks, I'm leaving immediately for Del Norte and Monte Vista. Those towns have become quite crowded with refugees.

Update 1300 MDT: As far as I can tell, the forest has not been closed on the safe (east) side of the town of South Fork. The best emergency link seems to be this one.

Quoting their communique: 

Eric Norton, Fire Behavior Analyst for the NIMO Team, said “The fire behavior we saw yesterday was so extreme, it was undocumented and unprecedented” The fire more than doubled in size going from 12,001 acres to close to 29,000 acres today.
I am not happy about seeing a dark cloud on both sides of me. Although the forest isn't closed, it seemed prudent to move camp down closer to the highway. I am surrounded by 50 yards of bare dirt (no burnables) in all directions. (It's a snowmobile park.) I can see the town itself. Lots of emergency vehicles are tearing down the highway with their flashers on. I feel sorry for the cows in a nearby pasture. 


10 am, MDT: I got stuff to say, as always. But right now I'm getting ready to skedaddle. Last night half of Texas was streaming downriver on US-160, after Wolf Creek Pass was closed. The town of South Fork CO has emptied out this morning, after it received a mandatory evacuation notice. The state highway up to Creede is closed -- those poor devils.

Maybe it's time to move.
Geesh, I'm starting to feel like that old codger that wouldn't leave the Mt. St. Helens area before she blew.


Wayne (Wirs) said…
Unexpected adventures sure are a pain in the ass when you're going through them, but make great memories (and blog posts) later! :)

Stay safe. (Great pictures BTW).
Gee Wayne, that sounds enough like "that which doesn't kill you, makes you stronger," to make me nervous!
Jim and Gayle said…
Sounds like a good decision to move. We were happy to get out of Prescott away from the Doce fire and into the fire-free Coconino NF. Interesting, they also said the Doce fire was "extreme" because it burned over 5,000 acres in 7 hours. This one in South Fork sure sounds much worse.
Yours is "extreme", eh? Heck we would use an extreme fire for a wienie roast, around here. Ours is "unprecedented!" (Grin)
Tesaje said…
Yikes! I'd be outta there just from the smoke because of my asthma. CO is burning up again.
Anonymous said…
Glad to see that you're in a safe spot and ready to evacuate if necessary. Like Tesaje, I'd be moving out due to the smoke, but not because of asthma. I just don't like breathing it and often it contains burnt stuff that triggers my only known allergy (itchy eyes; head cold symptoms).

Due to smoke? Did you make that comment just to get me up on a stump to deliver my standard speech against the false idol, Comfort?! (grin)
XXXXX said…
I would guess the tendency to hang around is mostly due to trying to protect one's property. So why would you hang around? Get the hell out of there. It's just common sense.
Common sense is based on experience, George. I don't have much experience with this kind of thing. Don't government agencies and the media exaggerate hurricane risk in your part of the country? They probably exaggerate risk here, as well.

I find this disaster interesting and thought-provoking. I do not believe in the great mainstream-suburban-massenmensch idols of Comfort and Security. That doesn't mean that I'm hanging around to see how reckless I can be and still get away with it.
XXXXX said…
I agree they exaggerate but they don't know which way the wind is going to blow either or how it might kick up and what might be the results. Their inaccuracies and exaggerations are based on good intentions, trying to keep people safe.
If your estimations are true, that the fire is only 3-4 miles from you, then this is no time to be debating the idols of Comfort and Security. I agree with your overall philosophy but disagree that it is applicable in your situation right now.
Actually, it's not a disaster for the planet. Things need to burn to make way for the new. But it is a disaster for the losses experienced by humans. Hopefully you aren't one of them.
Anonymous said…
Well, I guess you'd need to experience such an allergic reaction to understand. It's a "comfort" issue in the same way that ridding your bed of a swarm of biting red ants is a "comfort" issue. I'm not such a Stoic that I could simply ignore it, nor a masochist who could enjoy it. ;)
Tesaje said…
Of all things aging has taken from me, I miss breathing the most...
Tesaje said…
No, they don't exaggerate the risks. The private news media does (always looking for ratings), but the govt does not. They do have imperfect prediction and path prediction so if it goes a bit off the predicted path, it is less intense. Sandy was not exaggerated where it hit. Don't know why people persist in thinking a broad areal prediction applies just to their own location or that the experience of a lesser storm means all of them will be a lesser storm. Fire weather and path is not as precise a science as hurricane prediction is at present so the risks are greater.
Brian said…
nah... sit tight... That 50 yards of bare dirt will protect you well from the embers that soar a mile and more from the leading edge of a crowning fire...

You say you have little experience with such situations, yet you insist on ignoring the men who DO have experience with it, and don't really want to have to risk their lives saving the necks of people who ignored their warnings...

"Common sense is based on experience, George" yeah it is... making decisions based on what you can learn from Someone ELSE'S experience. Refusing to learn from what's happened to others, over and over and over, well, that's another matter entirely.

Insisting on ignoring the advice of firefighters because some news guys have been caught exaggerating is sense for sure... but I'm not sure it's the positive sort.