Editor's note: Yahoo News is publishing residents' accounts of the wildfires burning in Colorado this week. Here are photos and dispatches from one resident.
BLACK FOREST, Colo. -- On Tuesday morning, my dad and I ate bagels and coffee, unaware of the fact that by that evening, we would have evacuated his house in Black Forest. After the chaos of evacuating cats, horses, vehicles, and people (all in pairs, oddly enough), my dad dropped me off very early Wednesday morning at my apartment.
In my neck of the woods, the air quality is hazy and thick with an oddly pleasant wooded scent, though the realization of why the smoke is there is enough to turn my stomach. After last year's Waldo Canyon fire, people are nervous; it's a tension you can almost tangibly feel. If you aren't in Colorado Springs as an evacuee right now, you probably know someone from Black Forest who had to leave.
Facebook has come alive with a solidarity reminiscent of -- and even stronger than -- what I remember from the Waldo Canyon fire. Residents are still scared of the fire, but they have given up on fear of one another. There's a pure sense of community; people who normally pass each other without a thought are stopping to lend a helping hand.
The air is warm, the nights hide summer's normal moonlight, and the tension makes for uneasy sleep and harried dreams. The roads are often crowded -- especially during the day -- with spectators; I feel toward these folks a sentiment I can't repeat in polite conversation -- because their presence makes it difficult for emergency crews to use the roads.
Despite the small numbers of road-hogging viewers, I have yet to hear or see any looting or other people being taken advantage of during these times. I'm certain that it occurs, but -- as we claimed here last year during the Waldo Canyon fires -- community does not burn down. Whatever our differences, Coloradoans in the Black Forest area are bound together by that sense of community.
- Black Forest