Today started out with a reduced smoke plume and almost perfect morning with sunshine and blue skies. They were quickly darkened by smokey pillars of smoke fed by the high winds we have been experiencing.
As the day wore on, it became apparent that the fire was building. We also heard from a friend in the Upper Rio Grande Valley that out favorite lake high in the forest was surrounded by flames which made us sad. Just last week we had rode in to the lake and caught the most perfect, red meat brook trout. The fires and subsequent ash may ruin this lake sitting at 12,300 feet and pristine in every way save the beetle kill forest that surrounded it.
The fuel load up in the forest is just unmanageable now and the Forest Service just cannot manage it in this condition.
I attended the meeting to night in the community center to hear the various emergency responders and forest personnel expound on the fire situation. They were all of one mind in that they will try and save what buildings and homes that they can but the forest is too hot to risk men and equipment to fight. Too many years of non logging and beetle kill have made the rockies a tinder box ready to explode.
Some of the fires today would form huge mushroom clouds as they consumed the larger acreages with beetle kill as the dry tops took off.
The forest are an amazing thing and even though we hate to see the fires burning, it will bring new growth eventuall but not in many lifetimes. One forest service person estimated it will be 200 years before the forest will recover due to the extreme heat generated in these fires.
Many people are leaving the area now and a lot of ppl ask about maybe going home for the rest of the summer and season. I always tell them that this is a fire not a life changing event. Want a week or so and they will move on and be over and there are still millions of acres of the mountains to enjoy. I think that if a person can not panic, have a evacuation plan in place and go about your own daily chores and activities, you will be better off in the long run over someone who worries all the time. There is little we as humans can do about a forest fire and the sooner we learn that, the better off we will be. ....Kevin