Monday, July 1, 2013

Aftermath of the Fire

"We Heart Black Forest"
The Enduring Spirit of Forest Dwellers

 Hundreds of Chimneys
Stand Sentinel Over Charred Homesites

Toasted and Totaled

One of My Favorite Riding Trails
Intact, But Not So Pretty
Trail Closed
Hot Spots Still Burning
Fire Secretly Smolders in Roots and Tree Trunks
Until it is Blanketed in Snow

Fire Mitigation Completed in 2012 Too

Recovery Has Started
Cleanup Has Begun
Forest Forever Changed

Life Goes On


  1. And by this time next year, it will be vibrant with new life.

    Tough as it is to go through, it's a miraculous transformation.

    1. I look forward to seeing the new growth in the forest, especially the green grasses and flowers. Many people will choose to rebuild, although we know of a few who have already decided to move to town.

  2. Those homes, so totally destroyed are dreadful. I can't imagine how the owners feel coming back to that sight.

    1. It is shocking and sad for many of them. A lot of tears have flowed. But everyone I know is looking for the silver lining and finding gratitude in life. Many "lessons learned" are being shared. One family said they grabbed sleeping bags as they left, so they could crash on the floor in case they ended up staying at a friend's house. In hindsight, they laughed realizing their friends would put them in beds and on couches and provide bedding and anything to help comfort them. In hindsight they wished they had grabbed the tubs holding their children's art and school work instead of sleeping bags. Another lady had always had 3 suitcases packed for herself and her husband, sitting in the garage, in case of emergency. Then completely forgot about them in the stress of evacuating. They returned to their burnt property and saw the metal frames of those suitcases remaining. Their lessons will help us all be prepared. And most are reporting that their insurance companies are being very helpful.

  3. I just shudder at the aftermath of that fire and my heart breaks for those families and their animals!

    1. Mine too. So much loss and a long recovery ahead.

  4. The loss is just starting. Hes most likely lying down because his hooves are sloughing off from being burned - he'll be dead within a the others - then if its like us, cows will wander in, limping, burned, and now you are not only calling the warden, but the neighbors too - so much shooting, killing...and you watch your horses and hope they dont founder and then treat the burns they got, thanking god that you let them run and they did find one lone solitary safe spot...ebonys event rings are finally going to be trimmed out this weekend off of his hooves - we are lucky he didnt founder - sally was not so lucky; the stress brought out her cushings and then the melanoma grew inside - we had to put her down like all the rest of the animals... then the beetles will be coming in soon, attacking both burned trees and those trees that might have a chance to live, except for the beetles. there will be nothing for the animals to eat this winter, because the fire happened in the growing season- there will be a food shortage because if the snow gets deep, anything that may sprout will be too short, and any young aspen will be set in false dormancy and may or may not sprout in the spring of next year. And those humans who have to live in it will be cleaning ash over and over and over again, every time the wind blows. and when it blows they will be reminded of the sound of the fire, and they will flinch. Then everytime there is a rain, or snow melt, you must be careful as the land slides, the mud flows and the flash flood warnings come out...Its easy to say it will be better next year, but after living the past year surrounded by death, and cow carcasses and animal carcasses you cant move off of your land because the fire makes them fall apart and then you are trying picking up pieces, chunks - you give up after number 20... you just live with it. My heart goes out to everyone this year during fire season. I dont have to worry this year, because theres nothing left to burn and we were granted a reprieve with weekly far. I will never complain again. we already visited hell on earth, and Id rather be alive to appreciate all of it.

    oh, and dont ride in the draws - thats where most of the animals that didnt make it will be. they go in the timber and in the draws when there are storms...unfortunately this is a storm they couldnt survive. But the grasses and flowers will grow over the bones, the earth slowly washing away the memory of it...

    hugs to (((once upon an equine)))

    1. Oh, Feral, that is sad, I had no idea about the deer that I've seen. I thought they were just resting. That poor buck. One of my riding buddies is a volunteer firefighter who worked the fire for several days. She said they had to call in the location of any dead cattle/animals they saw. It is a populated enough area that the carcasses pose a health problem, so the county will come in and remove them. I've heard about the problem with the ash, and one of the reasons the riding/hiking trails will probably remain closed for a long time - not healthy for humans or horses to breath that.

      It has been sad to see so many people, wearing face masks, sifting through the ash of their homes.

      I'm so sorry about Sally. Heartbreaking. One of my good friends suddenly lost her beloved horse a few days after she returned home with her horses and dogs. Vet said it was likely colic due to stress of the fire and evacuation. It is a tough time for the animals, even those not it direct contact with the fire.

      And I worry about the squirrels. We have a lot of Abert squirrels in this forest. They are unique because they are black, not brown. I've not seen them anywhere else. Have you?

      I know of one horse and some pets that firefighters buried. The horse owner was grateful not to have to see her horse burned like that. Denver firefighters buried four German Shepherds and placed rocks around each of the graves.

      We have been having afternoon Thunderstorms too. Welcome rain, but there were mud slides yesterday along the Waldo Canyon burn scar (last years deadly fire). Many homes damaged:

      You are right, recovery will take a very long time. So sad. Tragic for those two people who couldn't escape in time. I heard they did nothing wrong; were not slow in evacuating, were almost out, but the game changed with an abrupt change in wind direction. And then we are all saddened for the loss of the Arizona firefighters. I hate fire! My mother died in a house fire when I was 9; My brother's face was severely burned in a grill fire before that. I just hate fire when it is out of control. I can roast marshmallows around a campfire; I can enjoy a fire in wood burning fireplace (but can't go to sleep until it is cold). I can burn candles in the center of the kitchen counter at my home; but I do prefer to be home on the 4th of July to keep an eye on the property lest careless neighbors start a fire. I'm not paranoid, but have always been very concerned and wary about fire.

      I'm grateful for the strength and perseverance you have shown through your fire ordeal. I still shudder, thinking of you and your husband driving through flames and your account of the screaming cattle. And Tomez's long recovery. So glad you found him. We are hearing many stories of animals and people reunited. There are bright spots amongst the blackness.

  5. How sad! What a mess!

  6. The devastation to everything is just awful. The poor homeowners.