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June 28th, 2012

Safe Home...For Now

Quick update while I'm still conscious: We rolled back into Colorado Springs at about 4 PM. We took the back roads home: I-76 down from I-80 in Nebraska as far as Brush, and then Colorado 71 south to Limon, where we caught US 24 west to the city. I didn't want to encounter traffic or possible closures coming down from Denver along I-25. It worked well, though we didn't come at the mountains from the north and thus did not see most of where the fire's still a very serious problem. Our firefighters have done a heroic job keeping the blaze away from densely populated areas, especially in the ancient and almost entirely wooden town of Manitou Springs.

In taking Colorado 71 south we drove through the range of the now-but-just-barely extinguished Last Chance Fire, and were boggled by blackened grassland that stretched out as far as the eye could see, 45,000 acres in all. We had thought to stop at the legendary ice cream shop at the crossroads (as we had hoped to our last time through Last Chance) but as best we can tell it perished, along with ten other structures nearby.

We got Jimi Henton back to her own house now that the danger appears to have passed in her area and turned (mostly) north. We can see some smoke from here but no flames. Again, we're now fourteen miles or so from the front lines, and for the time being in no danger. The weather broke shortly before we got here: Temps fell to the more seasonal mid-80s, it clouded up, and in some places even rained a little. Please, Sir, can we have some more?

Anyway. To bed, glad the fire isn't breathing down our necks but still fretting for others and hoping this sore throat isn't a harbinger of worse tomorrow. I may be coming down with an eye infection, too. Sorrows come not as single spies, but in battalions, yup. Or, to put a more modern spin on it, when was the last time you heard the singular form of "droves"?

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