On Monday morning I saw a haze over Boulder and discovered there was a fire in the mountains above the city--where one of my dearest friends lives. Unfortunately, she was in the kitchen cooking (she has a Crepe Cake company) so she hadn't heard. It was incredibly chaotic and those who were evacuated were having trouble getting accurate information quickly. In an effort to assist her (and her dogs--one of which was stranded in the evacuation) I started listening to the police scanners and following folks with great information on Twitter. She lives in the most western part of Pine Brook Hills neighborhood where fire fighters have created a fire line to protect the fire from spreading even further. Luckily, she and her dogs were able to get out safely on Monday afternoon.
I attended the Town Hall Meeting September 8, 2010 to support my friend. It was an audience of mostly displaced and generally on the older side. My friend and I who are in our late 30's/early 40's were among the youngest ones there. Many of whom didn't have access to or know how to use Twitter to gain information--which has been a great resource throughout the tragedy. They were really calm and matter of fact despite the fact that many of them had homes in the burn area. The man sitting next to us lives up Sugarloaf, was in his 80's and has a wife battling cancer. The woman across from us lives on Sunshine Canyon and heard that her house as well as one other neighbor were the only ones standing in her neighborhood. But as she noted, that could change. My heart goes out to them.
It was a really informative meeting and I was really impressed with all the experts they assembled to share information. One of the scariest things I learned was that in some spots the fire is burning at 2000 degrees. No--I didn't accidentally add an extra zero. That's two thousand degrees. Yikes. Tomorrow Federal Type 1 crisis support will take over. Just so you know--that's the same level of support they had for Hurricane Katrina. It's very serious.
I tried to tweet the most important information. I decided to put together this post so that all the tweets were in one place and to make it easy for my friend to pass along to easily share information to all the people who are contacting her to get more information about her welfare. Since there has been misleading information out there I also decided to put it into a blog post for others who aren't on Twitter or who weren't able to watch in real time. Tweets are in chronological order. I haven't altered any of them so there may be spelling errors. Note: The landscape photos were taken from my home in Gunbarrel and are in order of the day they were taken.
*Press conference about to begin. Coors event center packed. #boulderfire
*No casualties, falities or injuries to public service officer knowledge #boulderfire
*Made very good progress on fire today. By 10am Thursday lifting #evac order for carriage hills, boulder heights & pine brook #boulderfire
*Road blocks in place only residents will be allowed back. Have to be ready to #evac again if necessary. #boulderfire
*Fed, state and forest service cooperation has been phenomenal.#boulderfire
*Damage assessment takes time & accuracy.140 structures destroyed & 24 damaged. #boulderfire
*Can get email updates at fourmilecanyonfire.com.#boulderfire
*Handling the donation of cash and goods are in process. Call 211. #boulderfire
*It's a huge effort & it's not over. We want to return your life to normal as soon as possible. Please be patient. Pbl srvcs mgr #boulderfire
*Want to know what you need. Victim Assistance Center 3482 N. Broadway #evac county comissioner
*Cash assistance is needed. Unitedwayfoothills.org. #boulderfire
*Using Twitter for up-to-date information. Twitter.com/bouldercounty Boulder County Commissioner #boulderfire
*Warehouses are bursting thanks to strong community response.#boulderfire
*Incident Commander: 6300 acres of fire (20 miles). 2 miles of perimeter are safe.#boulderfire
*500 people in field or command center. Costs are 2.1 million and rising. #boulderfire
*Type 1 incident commander incoming. More technical experience and horse power. #boulderfire
*Our team would like to take credit for rain today. Type 1 Incoming incident commander. #boulderfire
*Let us get it safe for you to go back in. Type 1 Incident Commander #boulderfire
*Mile high red cross: shelter at ymca. Pets can come too. Food available. Safe and well site coloradoredcross.com. #boulderfire
*Red Cross also offers medical services.#boulderfire
*BVSD fire assistance center 6500 E. Arapahoe for BVSD families affected. Lunch available for students & family daily.#boulderfire
*Jamestown open tomorrow and buses running except for #evac areas. Working on school for Gold Hill. #boulderfire
*Your reactions are normal for an abnormal situation. Donna Foster Boulder county victim advocate #boulderfire
*Road blocks will stay in place except for residents allowed in certain areas. #boulderfire
*Incredible amounts of air support. Can't fly on windy days. Flew as soon as we could. No cost restrictions. Boulder Sheriff #boulderfire
*Dropped 100,000 gallons of retardant by today. Boulder sheriff #boulderfire
*Almost 8000 success reverse 911 calls first day. Deputy went to every single house. Boulder sheriff #boulderfire
*County will work thru rebuilding process. In past philosophey has been that you can rebuild same size same location without hassle.
*Single best way to help is to give money to United Way Foothills. Give now note "Fourmile Canyon Fire" donation. #boulderfire
*Incident Commander: Slurry only lasts 8 hrs in wet conditions and must have someone to till it. #boulderfire #fire
@AllyBSpeakin That was the plan for Pine Brook Hills but check tomorrow to see if still ok due to wind. #boulderfire in reply to AllyBSpeaking