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.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- I stepped outside to take my dogs for a walk, and immediately smelled smoke. It seems like I just walked into a summer camp. It's like there are several camp-fires nearby.
I live in the northwestern part of Colorado Springs. Last summer, my neighborhood was devastated by the Waldo Canyon fire. The mountain ranges to the west are constant reminders of what we lost in that blaze. This year, on the other side of the interstate, the Black Forest neighborhood is burning. The southern part of the evacuation zone is fewer than 10 miles from my apartment. My boss has been evacuated, as well as several others whom I know and work with.
Earlier this week, a large plume of smoke rose several thousand feet over the community of Black Forest. I saw that and thought, "Oh crap, not again." I truly love Colorado, but I am getting tired of this. Then I remember that this is the price I pay for living in an arid climate. I choose to live here and can't imagine living anywhere else.
I am tired, too, of the 24-hour coverage from all the local TV channels. The on-air people are struggling to think of something to say. It's like a fund-raising telethon. Once in a while, a tidbit of new information comes through. And that keeps me watching. I want to know that they've got in under control, that things can return to "normal," that it's not moving my way, and that no one has been hurt or killed yet. I feel compassion for those who have lost homes. It has not happened to me, but it has to many people I know. I am quite able to imagine a loss of home and property, but like most of us, remember that the important things are our families, friends and neighbors.
The number of people who have offered help is so encouraging. Many people are opening their homes to displaced people, helping to care for their animals. Black Forest is home to many people who own horses and other livestock.
I feel good about living in a community that has so many caring people; a crisis can definitely bring out the best in people. Of course, there are many who will try to profit from other's misery, but we haven't faced that yet.
- Black Forest