This weekend is Boulder Creek Festival…an annual three day festival full of music, vendors (some with cool stuff and some with crap you sure as hell don’t need), and lots of food that you could never find in Boulder any … Continue reading
We gathered for an afternoon party at Jenny’s. Her roommate Julie plays a mean mandolin. Suddenly…an impromptu concert. Does it get any better? The setting… A taste of the music…
And…we’re back! If you’ve read previous posts on this blog you know that I live car-free in Boulder and love it. When I do need some wheels, I use our local carshare service eGo Carshare. I could extol the virtues … Continue reading
Since moving to Boulder in April, I have been living car-free. By choice. Even though I’ve gotten used to telling people “I don’t own a car” it still strikes me as very strange – that statement would translate to a … Continue reading
I know a thing or two about stages. As many of you know I spent many years hanging around theaters as a crew member, a lighting designer, and mostly as a stage manager. I then spent five years working in … Continue reading
If you read my twitter feed, am friends with me on facebook or watch the news, you know that Boulder has been dealing with an incredibly tragic wildfire…the not-so-blissful aspect of living in a dry climate. The Four Mile Canyon fire is now 100% contained, but for many the recovery and coping process will take a long time.
The fire began last Monday (Labor Day) and started from a resident’s fire pit, which he thought he extinguished days before. Apparently the wind reignited the embers and the day had all the ingredients for a perfect fire – high winds, dry trees and very dry air. I was sleeping in when I got a text talking about a fire. Having no idea what it was referring to, I was told to “go outside.” This is what I saw from in front of my apartment:
The rest of the sky was bright blue – not a cloud in sight. Obviously something was on fire.
I turned on the tv to learn that a huge wildfire had started in Four Mile Canyon, which is only a few miles from the western edge of the city. What followed were days of intense emotion, including great sadness at the sight of our beautiful foothills burning and intense worry for everyone living in the fire area – which included several of my co-workers. This was my first time experiencing a natural disaster so close to me. And fire is scary.
On Monday evening we went up to Flagstaff Mountain, a very popular summit with a view of Boulder and the canyons to the west to see what was going on. The only way I can describe it is that I felt like I was looking at a war zone. As the sun went down the flames got brighter and every range had an orange glow from the fire engulfing the other side.
But our view was nothing compared to what some others were seeing, and luckily we have some amazing artists in the area that were able to capture the scene much more beautifully, and tragically, than I was able to. With their permission, here some of their images.
There is also some incredible video footage, including this one, a time lapse video of the raging fire Monday night.
While my apartment was never in danger, the community here in Boulder is very tied to the land…the natural world plays a large part in our lives. The canyons that burnt were part of our playground and part of the gorgeous natural environment that we hold so dear. Boulder has been scarred in a very big way. Even though I’m rather new to town, I’m scarred too.
So now that the fire is finally contained (not sure if it’s technically “out”), where do things stand? According to officials, 169 homes were destroyed and 6,422 acres were burned.
To end this post on a positive note though I’d like to express just how amazing the community has been here…some shelters actually closed because evacuees were taken in by friends, family and in some cases even strangers. Pets and horses are being housed at shelters and homes as well, local restaurants have been providing free food to victims, benefits are being organized and donations accepted all over town. And one of the starring players in all of this has been social media.
After learning about the fire I immediately turned to twitter, which has emerged as an amazing resource in times of crisis. I quickly found the #boulderfire tag that was being used, and witnessed what I can only describe as a community taking crisis communication into its own hands. Very little information was coming from official sources, but the twitter-verse was monitoring fire/police scanners, reporting evacuation zones and road closures, gathering information to feed into community-sourced maps, offering shelter, sharing pictures and much more. It was quite amazing to witness. To me this was an absolutely fascinating display of what a population that embraces social media tools can do. When the reverse 911 system failed and residents were not receiving the calls to evacuate officials had to go door-to-door, but also asked the community to get the word out on twitter. So they did. A great article on all this even made it to the Huffington Post – check it out!
I must give a shout out to Sandra Fish (@fishnette), a journalism instructor at CU, who was an amazing source of information, and @epiccolorado, a “multi-disciplinary, multi-university, multi-lingual research effort to support the information needs by members of the public during times of mass emergency.” They did (and are still doing) an awesome job mapping tweets by category. See it here.
If you’re reading this in Boulder, click here to find out how you can help.