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Hi, I'm Tamera, a professional wedding, portrait and boudoir photographer in Colorado Springs. But this blog isn't about my professional work; no, it's a daily love note to my beautiful city, where I've lived for most of my life. I love it here and I hope you enjoy seeing Colorado Springs through my eyes and lens!

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18 June 2013

Black Forest fire: the aftermath

Photo: The Colorado Springs Gazette
I haven't blogged in days. I have been avoiding it. There are a few reasons for this. I had a very big, very fabulous wedding to shoot at the Grant-Humphreys Mansion in Denver on Friday. On Saturday I stayed home and spent the entire day fretting helplessly about the Black Forest fire raging on the northeast side of Colorado Springs. On Sunday, Pat and I went to the funny car/drag races at Bandimere Speedway in Morrison, which effectively kept our minds off the fire. Monday I cleaned my house from top to bottom, doing my best to avoid any news of the fire.  Today is Tuesday and I am happy to report that it's now at least 75% contained, due I'm sure in part to the rainstorms that traveled back and forth over our city all day long yesterday.  Thank you, Mother Nature!

But I'm afraid that's probably the only good news I have to write about today. Because the Black Forest fire has officially claimed 502 homes and killed two people over the course of three or four days.  It is the most destructive fire in Colorado history, and it came almost exactly one year after the Waldo Canyon fire, which dramatically torched nearly 350 homes and killed two people in a matter of hours on the northwest side of our beautiful city, in a neighborhood called Mountain Shadows.  The Black Forest fire is different in that the homes there are generally spread farther apart, on acreage rather than average-sized lots.  So for the fire to consume over 500 homes means that it covered a lot of ground.  As you can imagine, a neighborhood called "black forest" must be a beautiful place to live. And it is.  Lots of pine trees and woodlands, some very nice homes; horses, llamas, cattle ranches.  I absolutely dread the thought of driving through there now, because it wasn't just a lot of homes with nice landscaping that were destroyed like the Waldo Canyon fire -- it's a forest that happened to have homes in it.  It's going to be very, very sad to see what has become of it.  It's not going to take years for those trees to grow back. It's going to take generations.  And so many animals have been displaced that for days now my Facebook feed has been one post after another about someone's horse(s) being lost, or some random horse or cow or alpaca or dog or cat being found, with accompanying pictures.  I hope all of these frightened animals will soon be reunited with their owners.

I'm sure I speak for all Colorado Springs residents when I say this: THANK YOU, FIREFIGHTERS AND NATIONAL GUARD!  I cannot praise you enough for all of your brave efforts to save lives, homes and property.  You are our heroes.  I am in awe of what you do. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

There is a very good video HERE that shows a fire crew defending a house in Black Forest; you should watch it if you have four or five spare minutes.  Below, I've posted a few more images of the fire, all but one of them from the Colorado Springs Gazette's website and captured by their talented photographers.

And finally, if you would like to help the victims of the Black Forest fire, you can make a monetary donation at www.careandshare.org (indicate that the donation is for "fire response") or text "donate" to 41010 to make a $10 donation, which will be added to your phone bill.  Volunteers can register at www.careandshare.org/GetInvolved/Volunteer.aspx. (Info excerpted from the Gazette.)

 Black Forest residents put up a sign thanking first responders on Shoup Road in Black Forest, Monday June, 17, 2013. Carol Lawrence, The Gazette.



Firefighters line up to cross a field putting out hot spots in an area off Hodgen Road in the northern part of the burn area in Black Forest, Monday, June, 17, 2013. The Black Forest fire was estimated at 75 percent containment by mid-day. Carol Lawrence, The Gazette.


A deer lies in ash near the ruins of a home on Brentwood Drive in Black Forest, Monday, June, 17, 2013. Most of the homes on Brentwood Drive were burned down. Carol Lawrence, The Gazette.
A street sign at Brentwood Dr. and Black Forest Road is damaged by the intense heat from the Black Forest fire. Carol Lawrence, The Gazette.

A firefighter flags the remains of a home on Brentwood Drive, Monday, June, 17, 2013. The property must be flagged three times for a complete assessment. Carol Lawrence, The Gazette.

These last photos break my heart into a million tiny pieces. I can't even look at them without crying.  I'm afraid this is what the majority of Black Forest will look like for the foreseeable future:
Timber blackened from the Black Forest fire line Wild Oak Drive on Monday June, 17, 2013. Carol Lawrence, The Gazette.
Capture from Denver's Channel 7 News aerial video.



Stefan Jansson said...

I read about the fires in my morning paper. Horrible. I can't even imagine something like this.

LOLfromPasa said...

I have loved every visit I have ever made to Colorado. So sorry to see what has happened here.

Randy said...

So sad. Ours are still burning.

Hilda said...

My heart is breaking for everyone there.

Tamera said...

Randy I'm so sorry that beautiful New Mexico is going through the same thing. It's beyond terrible.

Genie -- Paris and Beyond said...

Tamera, you have been on my mind since the beginning of the fires. I am glad that you are safe, but grieve for the losses of forest, property and lives.


Tamera said...

Thank you Genie <3 I will do a blog post about the Black Forest fire once I've had a chance to drive around in there and get some pictures. I don't think I'm quite ready to do that yet, though. It's sure to be devastating :^(

Irma Smith - Education Online PhD said...

I am sorry to hear about the forest fire, I know that they can be really scary because there is very little we can do about it but hope and pray. I am really glad that the fire died down. Those who are firefighters or in the National Guard are heroes.


Kris said...

Hopefully people who lost their home will be back on their feet soon..