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Smoke, but no Flames for South Fork

Update 2000 MDT: the sheriff came to check on a forest road gate. We had a nice chat. He said the fluctuations of the wind are fooling everybody: it looks like the evacuation is "long term." He confirmed that the flames had come within 2 miles of South Fork yesterday. (And therefore 4 miles from me.) Old Sol looks pretty battered and bloodied:

Update 1245 MDT: Whoa baby! The high wind has chased the intervening and obstructing smoke out of the upper valley of the South Fork of the Rio Grande. And now for the first time I can see where the action is, up by Wolf Creek Pass, the continental divide.

Update 1153 MDT: The wind recently kicked up to 30-40 mph. But it's blowing the smoke to the north. Everything around South Fork is clearing up. I can't believe how quickly the air cleared up over such a large area (many square miles). It looks so good to see the mountains again!
Update 1000 MDT: a recent and useful new article from the Denver Post:

South Fork, CO. I expected a night of fitful sleeping. I stayed dressed in bed, ready for a fast getaway. A local woman had checked in on me late Friday afternoon. She explained that "mandatory" evacuation doesn't mean that people actually have to leave. But if they do leave, the highway back is closed until the mandatory evacuation is lifted.

She was ready to evacuate quickly. She was in phone communication with a network of locals -- the ones who stayed, that is. I should have remembered to give her my cell phone number, but presumably she would come by again if she was in flight. (I'm practically at the base of her driveway.)

Two types of contrails.
The smoke was annoying. A few house lights and pole lights stayed lit last night. I checked about four times. Each time there was something reassuring about those lights. How nice it was to see the Verizon tower on the mountain "in dawn's early light." (Now I know how Francis Scott Key felt when he woke up to see the American flag still flying above the fort.)

Even more reassuring was the absence of visible flames anywhere in the area. I think the worst is over. But that's really up to the wind. The best news link that I've found so far is here:


XXXXX said…
Checking in on you early this morning. Glad things are settling down. Probably just amounted to a bit of excitement for you out there.
You have made reference now to several associations with scenes in books, etc. in this experience. Rather interesting that in a bit of a crisis the mind wanders to such things. Speaks to the power of novels and other "stories" that we have been exposed to. Just wondering about all the junk out there, stupid novels, trashy stuff on TV and the internet, etc.....might explain why the standard of appropriate behavior and thought has declined so.
Worst case you will finally get a new truck and trailer & be more careful next time your in south fork Co
Albireo said…
Thanks for the updates on the fires in Colorado. I'm really feeling sorry for all the fine folks who have lost their homes there. The last time I was in Colorado I saw all the trees destroyed by the pine beetle infestation ... think that problem has a lot to do with the all the fires.
Thanks for checking one me, George. You're right about a crisis bringing many things to mind. But survival and action comes first; "spin" comes afterward.
Yes, the dead wood has a lot to do with the likelihood AND intensity of the wildfire, presumably.