COLORADO FIRE BLOWS UP INTO ONE OF THE STATE’S WORST
I’ve never seen a live volcano so this is the closest thing to it: At 10 p.m. Monday, this was the stunning view of the Spring Fire that closed La Veta pass, 60 miles south of Pueblo. The size of that glow was a once-in-a-lifetime sight.
Fire officials are calling it a “beast of a fire,” one of the worst in decades. It has scorched scorched almost 85,000 acres and destroyed more than 100 homes.
Based on what I heard on Colorado Springs newscasts, there have been no reports of lives lost, so far. The animal toll could be staggering, however, with residents and ranchers to "Leave now." One woman said she and her husband managed to take some ranch animals with them but opened gates, hoping penned livestock, including colts and calves could escape the wall of flames seen roaring across the mountains near the Sangre de Cristos.
As of late Monday, only five percent of the massive blaze was contained. Fire crews from throughout the Rocky Mountain region were arriving. Footage from a Colorado Springs TV station showed a truck from Flathead County (Kalispell).
My wife, Cara, her mother, Jan Roberts of Westcliffe and Lincoln, Nebraska, and I got within 5-6 miles of the fire late Monday afternoon before returning to the ranch on the outskirts of Westcliffe. We later learned via TV that most of the roads we were on had since been closed and pre-evacuation notices issued to the towns in the area.
We are praying the wind doesn't push the fire up the Sangre de Cristos, which have many more homes and ranches along the base of the legendary range that features nine 14,000-foot peaks and another 13 above 13,000. Western film classics "Cat Ballou" and "Comes a Horseman" were filmed in this area.