South Fork Fires Update June 23, 2013

Today finds us evacuated from the town of South Fork. We were the last to leave except for a few hold outs who I think by law, can determine their own fate and stay if they want to.

The smoke had gotten bad enough that it was taking a toll on me and my Yorkie, Cooper, so we pulled our RV out of there to a friends farm near Monte Vista. This farm is owned by the owners of the Aspen Ridge RV park and have graciously told all the RV customers in the park to come out and enjoy the farm while the farm rages. That is unheard of and there are lots of stories about other RV'ers losing all their rent money for the lots. So if they can return to the parks in a week or so, they will have to pay another months rent. That sure isn't my way of keeping or growing your customer base.  

The fires continue to burn and there is approximately 60,000 acres or more that has burned or is currently burning. The fire west of South Fork took what is termed as a miraculous turn Friday and spared the town from destruction. Those of us who are believers in a higher power, believe that the prayers that were being said had a definite affect on the fires.

There are about 600 firefighters, 60 trucks and multiple tanker planes assigned to this fire and the public information officers have been doing a great job updating us. Many people are complaining about not being able to go back into the town but after being there long after everyone else was gone, I do understand that the last thing needed is gawkers and people needing help themselves. And, its not over yet by any means. So better safe than sorry and it took a huge amount of manpower to notify everyone in the first place so stay where you are safe and let these brave men and women do their job.

I am betting this will take another 5 days to assess the fires and be sure its safe to return. Having great maps available online, you can follow the hourly progress of the fires and make pretty accurate analysis of the past and therefore future actions of the fire.  

We were in the RV park late into the fire when suddenly the local wildlife officers came into the driveway and said to get out NOW. The fire was about to cross Hwy 149. I decided to make their day easier and go and again, the smoke was so bad already to make life miserable.

I am using this time to catch up with friends and relatives who have heard about the fire. I know this too will pass and summer will return to the Rocky's. The burned out areas will bloom with wildflowers soon enough and the hardy aspens will begin their cycle of life in the scorched out mountains. Pines and other conifers will be slow to come and I will never see them in my lifetime, but the cycle of life continues on and one day, the forest will stand strong and renewed again.