Sunday, June 16, 2013


Yes, Colorado is on fire again.  The largest of the fires is in the Black Forest area north of Colorado Springs.  This devastating fire has claimed nearly 500 homes and two deaths in the past week to become the state's worst wildfire ever.  It is now 55% contained, and most mandatory evacuations have been lifted.

A devastating wildfire also hit close to home this past week -- The Royal Gorge Fire.  We live in Canon City which is on the eastern edge of the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park.  
The Bridge spans the gorge at 1000 feet above the Arkansas River - a sight to behold! Since 1929, the park had been expanded to include other attractions; and is owned by the City of Canon City.  
The Bridge on opening day in November 1929.
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The Bridge on a normal beautiful Colorado day.
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 This past Tuesday, June 11; a wildfire erupted from an unknown cause (at this time).  The picture below shows the front gate as guests and employees were all being safely evacuated.  
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The below picture shows the front gate shortly thereafter.
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The carousel was always a popular attraction for the kids.
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At this time, it appears the bridge itself has sustained minimum damage.  Engineers will be brought in to survey and ensure that it is safe.
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Our thoughts and prayers go out to our neighbors to the north who have lost everything.  Here in Canon City no homes or lives were lost; but as a community our heart is temporarily broken.  The Bridge and Park is an icon for us, and the source of considerable tax revenue.  The Bridge employs 200 people during the summer season including the 40 full-time/year-around employees.  The remaining 160 people have lost their summer jobs -- many are high school and college kids.  Both of our kids worked "The Gorge" many summers during high school/college.
The Bridge and Park will be rebuilt -- they are saying 'bigger and better'.  However, the charm that had evolved over the last 84 years is gone forever.  My hope is that the city officials and bridge managers will refrain from turning it into a 'daredevil disneyland'.  May they design the buildings, structures, and attractions to enhance the natural beauty of the gorge, which is truly a gift from God.

In the meantime, life will go on -- the picture below shows the new white bison baby, named Smokey, born just yesterday at the park's wildlife zoo.  All animals in the zoo survived the fire!
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And, the tourist business on the river has resumed -- the sightseeing train and the river rafting started up again this weekend.  There is still plenty to do here.  Come visit the beauty that is Colorado!!!!


Marilyn said...

It was so hard to concentrate on anything last week. My SIL has a home in the Black Forest and it is still there!! I'm praying that LaForet, a wonderful church camp is still OK, too. Glad you are safe. Have a much better week ahead.♥♫

Ceekay-THINKIN of HOME said...

I am so sad about that I have been to your beautiful state, it just hurts to think of all these fires, and the homes lost.

srpprcrftr said...

It just crushes me to see all the suffering the people that have lost their homes. Just last year so much Co.Springs was burned. I'm not sure what areas exactly were burned last year nor how many homes lost.
We lived in Co.Springs for about 2 yrs. then moved back to Tucson, our daughter/youngest of 4 was 7 weeks old when we moved back.
We never got a chance to go to Royal Gorge at all. What a shame so much of that beautiful area has been harmed. I feel so bad for the people that rely on jobs and have lost them and anybody that lost their homes.
We've got a fire east of us (Rifle Gap) but don't think it will be spreading this far west. I will certainly pray the fires in your area are extinguished soon as well as any/all others. Happy summer

Gail @ said...

I hadn't seen these photos. I'm a Colorado girl living in NC (raised in Ft. Collins) and we've been to the Royal Gorge several times. It truly is sad to see some of history "melt" away like this.