Colorado Springs is where I recieved my undergraduate degree, and where I worked part time at the Air Force Academy at the Cadet Store in Vandenberg Hall in the Cadet Area as well as the Commissary during those years of study. So I'm familiar with the place. Garden of the Gods park, Glen Eyrie castle and grounds - now the home of the Navigators Christian discipleship organization - and Flying W Ranch, home of some really great chuckwagon suppers and cowboy music singin' and funnin' with the Flying W Chuckwagon singers and band are all in the city's west side adjoining the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, next to each other. I've mentioned them from a south to north orientation.
Flying W Ranch burned to the ground Tuesday/Wednesday overnight. Glen Eyrie castle still stands as of this writing. People are now being allowed back into some of the neighboring areas to these locations, but not all at this point. Continuing need for prayer for firefighters, law enforcement (Colorado Springs Police Department and El Paso County Sheriff's Department) and citizens and visitors present. Our first responders have been working up to twenty hours a day and need rest and strength for the fiery battle they are engaged in. At one point there were no hotel rooms available in Colorado Springs, although neighboring Manitou Springs had a few left. The Antlers Hotel downtown, a foundational institution in the city, resorted to opening their ballroom to accommodate guests! 10 obliged them as of 11:15 PM Wednesday evening. Sleeping bags encouraged. Amazing stories, all.
So please pray for these tired, worn, sleepy eyed folks. They need it.
Here is my debut into photo album creating and sharing on the Internet, using Picasa. Several photos of the Waldo Canyon fire are posted for your benefit. Enjoy! (Hat tip to the Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper online, which opened up their e-edition to the general public during the Waldo Canyon Fire.)
First smoke from the Waldo Canyon Fire, Saturday, June 23, 2012. This was taken from the top of Pikes Peak by a tourist. He didn't know at the time this was the first indication of a major fire, but it became obvious later.
Here's an earlier photo with a closeup of the Cadet Chapel. Fire is more intense on this date. June 26, 2012
Fire view from the Briargate neighborhood of Colorado Springs, in the vicinity of Chapel Hills Mall. June 26, 2012
Fire view from the vicinity of UCCS. This looks to be from the athletic fields adjoining Nevada Avenue looking west. June 26, 2012
Fire View from Focus on the Family in Briargate. Undated, but I found this on Jim Daly's blog Finding Home on June 28, 2012. You normally see the Rampart Range and the Air Force Academy, with Pikes Peak to the south from this vantage point. . . and lots of blue sky. Not today.
Queens Canyon on fire, June 27, 2012. This canyon is northwest of Glen Eyrie castle, owned by the Navigators, and southwest of Flying W Ranch, which had just burned to the ground hours before. It acted as a bridge allowing the fire to decimate the Flying W Ranch. Sad.
The Colorado Springs welcome sign alongside southbound Interstate 25. Normally the sky is blue with Pikes Peak and Cheyenne Mountain visible in the distance. Not this day. June 27, 2012
Problem was, 32,000 people were all trying to move one direction - away from the fire - on the same roads at the same time. Traffic jams ensued, both on major arterials like Woodmen Road at Academy Blvd. and Rockrimmon Blvd. I don't know the location of this sign or the road it was on. June 27, 2012
Hmmm. . . A rainbow! See, God's promises are from everlasting to everlasting. He has not abandoned his creation. . . and he forgets not his own who have trusted in Him. He hears and answers prayer. Just you wait and see. . . June 27, 2012
The Rockrimmon neighborhood and adjoining areas on fire at its peak. June 27, 2012
A C-130 flies in support of fire suppression operations with a clear view of Pikes Peak in the background. June 28, 2012
Waldo Canyon Fire Progression Map June 23 - 28, 2012.
Ahhh. . . a refreshing thunderstorm! Now that's more like how the Springs is climatewise in the Summer. June 28, 2012
One of the 50 livestock from Flying W Ranch that made it through the Waldo Canyon Fire. Notice the burnt black udders. This animal may not ever be able to give milk to its young ever again due to the injury sustained. The buildings burned to the ground, but every living thing made it out alive! Praise God for that! June 28, 2012
Thank You Manitou Springs Fire Department, Colorado Springs Volunteer Fire Department, Manitou Springs Police Department - Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Information Center on Manitou Avenue, Manitou Springs. Areawide, more governmental agencies and nonpofit organizations/church and parachurch organizations to thank than just these, but for Manitou Springs, its all they had room for in the sign. June 28, 2012
Flagstaff Fire photo near Boulder, Colorado June 28, 2012. Hat Tip to my brother Steve Cox for this. "Beautiful and scary at the same time!" my brother Kevin Cox responded back at Steve's emailed photo to us. Other fires are still active in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona and perhaps more as of this writing. A tough fire season this year and the Summer has just begun. Pray!
Finally, I'll leave you with the link to a photo slideshow/gallery, courtesy of gazette.com: http://www.gazette.com/sections/slideshow/?id=14914887 (Day 4/June 26) Not sure how long the free coverage by gazette.com will last, so if you are interested click around and view them while photos may be had. . . before the Gazette pulls the plug. There's photo galleries there for every day of the Waldo Canyon Fire. Check it out.