Last summer my travels in the US were momentarily halted by Hurricane Irene (see here). This resulted in a 3 day delay in which my friends and I waited in Atlanta for a rescheduled connecting flight to NYC; it didn’t cause too much upheaval, we decided to just enjoy exploring an extra destination.
It seems I have unfortunate knack recently at experiencing natural disasters first hand. I’m currently spending the summer in Colorado, which I’m sure you’ll have seen on the news is experiencing a number of wildfire disasters.
High Park wildfire was caused by a lightening strike, and is 15 miles west of Fort Collins, where I’m situated. It is estimated that the blaze began on Saturday 9th June at approximately 5:54am, according to this helpful information website. Here is a recent map of the fire’s location:
It’s a hefty fire, estimated to spread across 87,284 acres of land, it has already destroyed 257 homes, and cost the state an estimated $33.5 million so far.
I’m staying one block away from Colorado State University, which is where Larimer County set up the disaster recovery center on 15th June, where we can see the Red Cross assisting the evacuated, an insurance helpdesk, and a media center.
I’m lucky that I’ve not been directly affected by the fire, the area I’m in seems quite safe. Although when the winds are high a thick smoke envisages the city, on one occasion, 17th June, ash was falling around us, which really hits home how close we are to this disaster. See some images taken that day on our mobile phones from CSU campus:
The fire is still very visible, we can see smoke coming over the mountains everyday, the following are images taken on the 23rd June, from close to the City Park Pool. We also noticed that the community had rallied around in support of those whose homes have been destroyed, offering donations, in the form of childrens toys and clothes.
The local river has even turned black due to ashes, see here. There is however, optimism that the fire will be tackled by 15th July, with 75% containment so far, well done to the 1313 personnel helping to work against it. Well wishes to all those affected by the blaze.
Update: President Obama today visited Colorado following the issue of a disaster declaration; this allows for federal funds to be used against the damage for local relief efforts.