Wildfires rage in Colorado — thousands forced to flee their homes

Daylife/Reuters Pictures used by permission

A wildfire raging near some of Colorado’s most popular tourist sites grew suddenly more ferocious on Tuesday, forcing 32,000 people from their homes, prompting evacuations from the U.S. Air Force Academy and swallowing numerous houses at the edge of Colorado Springs…

“This is a fire of epic proportions,” Colorado Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown said as ash drifted down on the city, sirens wailed and the thick smell of smoke permeated the air.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper flew into the city Tuesday night by helicopter to meet with fire commanders and tour the fire zone first-hand. He noted that the blaze was one of at least a dozen burning throughout the state. Four people have died in Colorado wildfires so far this year.

“This is the worst fire season in the history of Colorado,” he said during an impromptu news conference, adding that from the air he saw many homes destroyed in a glowing landscape that looked “surreal.”

The Waldo Canyon Fire, which has roared through at least 6,200 acres of dry timber since Saturday, has grabbed attention for days because of its proximity to landmarks like the famed mountaintop of Pikes Peak and the Air Force Academy.

The blaze claimed its first property losses on Tuesday as wind-driven flames swept over containment lines into Colorado’s second-most populous city, consuming an unknown number of homes on the town’s outskirts as authorities hurried to evacuate residents…

The sudden closure of service stations along with other businesses, leaving fleeing motorists unable to fill up their cars, added to a sense of urgency as roads filled with traffic…Columns of vehicles carrying evacuees and hastily packed belongings stretched bumper-to-bumper for miles, crawling slowly southward out of town along Interstate 25…

Asked how quickly the fire was spreading after the latest flare-up on Tuesday afternoon, incident commander Rich Harvey said, “If I gave acreage right now, it would be wrong in five minutes. It’s growing…”

There is a quality of human behavior described as “spontaneous materialism”.

Colorado Springs is a national center, a focal point for Christian fundamentalism – especially the moralizing breed who spend their idle time advising every other living person on the planet how to live their lives. They prate about birth and death, sex and the absence of sex, they advise anyone in sight how to live their lives. They are self-important in their standards, profligate in advice about values. And in an older time I would expect to see a number of them kneeling before the approaching flames praying to their Jehovah to redirect the wildfires back upon their track of destruction.

Ain’t especially about to happen. Even folks dedicated to a religion of precedence – in a nation characterized by mediocre education – know enough not to waste their lives in what would be a foolish gesture. Foolish – if not insane. And of that I am glad.

Folks are in enough danger of losing homes and lives. They need not put responders, the brave folks risking their lives to save their fellows into greater danger to rescue nutballs who would walk into the furnace on behalf of an archaic belief system.

So, behave as any philosophical materialist would advise you and get your friends and family to safety. I’ll tease you about this – just a little – several years down the road when, hopefully, you’ve had time to resume a normal life.

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