Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Have You Ever Been Evacuated ?
The smoke cloud first came into view yesterday afternoon. The scouts at the stables working on the Horsemanship merit badge, were busy cleaning saddles and completing other requirements. One of the camp staff attempted to discreetly pull aside one of the MB instructors, but he made a big scene of it and suddenly everyone saw the growing plume of smoke in the near distance.
Camp Cris Dobbins is located on the Peaceful Valley Ranch just off Elbert Road in eastern Colorado. The Black Forest fire began just about 6 miles west of this location, so there was certainly cause for concern. With that in mind, the remainder of last night went as scheduled, and there never seemed to be much concern about the fire. In fact, it wasn't until about 10:30am today that we even smelled smoke or saw small pieces of ash in the camp.
That is a sign I should have paid attention to because less than an hour later the sirens were sounding and we would be spending over 4 hours standing in the sun waiting to be evacuated and checked in to the shelter. I've had late lunches before but this was almost an early dinner.
We left the camp in a slow, mostly organized fashion and drove to the Elbert County Fairgrounds. While waiting to check in there, my son and I were interviewed by a reporter for the Denver Post. I'll have to check later to see if we're actually quoted in the article at all.
I thought the worst part of the experience would be the burning sun and long wait for some mediocre lunch food ... but the drive home made everything else seem like a day in the park. We were not allowed to drive south on Elbert road, which would have allowed us to catch US-24 to Falcon and then take Woodmen road straight home. Instead, we had to drive north all the way up to Castle Rock, just to catch I-25 south back to Colorado Springs. Without heavy traffic, that would still have taken an hour or more to complete. Because of evacuees and regular rush hour traffic, the drive took well over 2 1/2 hours. The length of that trip led to car sickness for two of the boys and a horrific bloody nose for my son. Be grateful there are no pictures of that.
All in all, I am pleased at how well the senior camp staff and Red Cross volunteers (as well as police officers, etc.) did to ensure safety of over 1200 scouts, leaders, and camp staff. Things were no picnic, but they could have been considerably worse and so I am grateful. I just hope we can get our stuff soon (literally everything was left at camp).
Song Of The Day:
Getting out safely but with lots of stress is a bittersweet feeling, so "Bittersweet Symphony" by The Verve is my song for this post. Grateful for the shower and comfortable bed, but now my thoughts are turned toward those people whose homes are being destroyed who are not as fortunate.