Fire scares the hell out of me. Especially big, uncontrolled ones like the Fourmile Fire in west Boulder County. Last night, I watched mountain homes go up in flames while driving along the foothills. I had to stop and stare for a while. I was afraid I might run off the road looking if I didn't. It was surreal.
Where am I in relation to this fire? I live in east Boulder County, about 10-12 miles away.
Far enough that we really don't need to worry about a ground fire spreading this far. We are, however, directly in the smoke plume. I got sick a couple of times this afternoon, after having been outside for a short time during the inversion weather pattern that pushed all that smoke down into Boulder Valley this morning. Still feeling heavyness in my lungs, which is not a good sign. I will likely soon evacuate myself (and feline companion) and stay with friends in Denver, south of the smoke plume.
I've been pretty glued to the internet since the fire broke out Monday morning. It's amazing how social networking saved lives when the reverse 911 calls failed. And the outpouring of support from the local ( and far off ) communities, residents and businesses, is just what makes Boulder a truly amazing place. Compassion is pouring in, and there are many ways to help the displaced if you can.
One of the ways that I've been keeping track of fire news are two open collaborative Google maps, here and here. Other ways are Twitter using the search term #boulderfire or check out all the links on Boulder Page. The most heartbreaking ways are the countys' dispatch channels, though. Don't listen to those for too long. I have to cut myself off from them, and all the other media now and try for some sleep.
For now, I can't smell the smoke. But I know the mountain is still burning.