As firefighters continue to fight the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs and I hear fireworks in my neighborhood, I am reminded of the delicate nature of western wildlands.
The first time I celebrated Independence Day in the house where I currently live, some of the neighbors shot bottle rockets on the roof of a nearby home. They started a fire in his Italian cypress trees. Residents pulled together and jumped on the roof. They kept the fire from spreading to his house by spraying the flames with a garden hose.
The trees are gone, but at least the house is still standing.
I haven't heard how the Waldo fire started and I'm not suggesting it was fireworks, but fireworks have been at the hearts of plenty of fires just like this one. CNN is reporting that this fire has burned 87,284 acres as of today. It's reportedly 65% contained and has destroyed 257 homes.
Whether you measure a fire in square miles or square feet, the devastation to each family is just as heartbreaking.
As you celebrate the Fourth of July next week, please be safe and sane with your fireworks displays. Keep water nearby and only have the adults light the fuses.
Any disaster evacuation is a harrowing rush, but wildfires seem to chase you with smoke and ash drifting along behind -- or in front. Be safe and stay alert to avoid the experience.
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