Travels With Dick and Judy

Follow us in our trials, triumphs and tribulations, while on the road in our motor home "The Liberty Belle". We chose to forsake the conventional lifestyle in our 3,000+ square-foot home to move into a 40-foot Winnebago Ultimate Freedom. Travel with us as we take you on the road with us in our new lifestyle.
I may grow older, but I'll never grow up!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fire on the Mountain! Run Boy, Run!

Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later.  The weather has been simply too dry, often with humidity in the single digits and winds exceeding 30 mph.  It started just before I:00 p.m. on Saturday with the sounds of sirens coming down Mary’s Lake Road, followed by the appearance of the National Park Service’s green fire trucks.  We were not too apprehensive over this because the High Park fire had reared its ugly head and was on everyone’s mind, so we figured that’s where they were heading.

But, when we looked in the direction of the High Park fire, we were alarmed to see smoke coming from just over Prospect Mountain and the entrance to the National Park.  It wasn’t heavy, but there was a lot of it and very close. 

Within minutes, helicopters began appearing, carrying buckets of water that they began filling in Mary's Lake next door.  Also appearing on the scene were the fire fighter tanker aircraft. 

Because our campground is practically on the shore of Mary's Lake, for the next several hours, we had front-row seats to an endless parade of helicopters flying directly overhead toward the lake, filling their buckets without ever cutting back on their engine speed, handling it all with the pitch of their rotors and, then, giving the campground a cooling mist as they headed back to the fire.  At this point, it’s important to mention that there was a ground crew on the scene at the lake acting as ground control.  They must have done everything right, because it all went down like clockwork.
Panoramic view of the campgrouond with Mary's Lake on the right.
Vigilant Ground Crew

Another bucketful


Every pass brought a cooling mist

Crowded skies

We weren't the only ones watching the operation.  Local residents living up on the mountainside overlooking the campground scrambled to higher ground to get a better overview of the entire scene.

Then, there was a different sound.  It was another helicopter but, unlike the other two, this one had a distinctive heavy thud as it cut the air.  It was one of the heavy lift snorkel choppers everyone has been seeing fighting the High Park fire.

The much appreciated "Heavy Lift Snorkel"

This all may seem pretty dramatic, and it was.  The fire was only about 1-1/2 miles from us and just on the other side of Prospect Mountain. The wind was blowing like a banshee and constantly changing direction.  Luckily for us, it chose to blow away from us for the duration.
All in all, 21 structures were destroyed in just a few hours before being contained.  The one thing that sticks in my mind is the rapid response of all involved.  The pilots in the air and the respondents on the ground could not have performed more precisely had they been in a true battle zone.  In this case, they were at battle with Mother Nature who is totally unpredictable.
All this shouldn’t belittle the dire circumstances of the High Park Fire, which at last report has consumed an estimated 81,000 acres.  Last night, there was 60% containment and, tonight, firefighters lost ground and the containment is only 45%.

This is what it looked like.
This view of the High Park fire was taken Saturday, 6/23/2012, at 4:22 P.M.
I really hope you enjoyed this report.   See Ya!  ~dick~ 


1 comment:

  1. Guess even though you can see the smoke, it's still ok to come out to the Rocky Mountain National Park? It looks alarming...We were going to come, but decided to change plans and head to Tennessee because of the CO wildfires. We just weren't sure.