It was about a week after moving to Boulder that the fires started and they were only about 20 or 30 minutes from the new apartment. Looking to the West, a great cloud of smoke could be seen. It blocked out the sun for at least two days. It hurt to breath for about 24 hours. The smell permiated through Boulder and, I’m sure to a lesser extent, further to the east.
Despite the destruction from where I was it was really quite beautiful. After the awe wore off, worry began to accomplish its duty. Residents west of Broadway, near the university, were warned that they may have had to evacuate. Panic never reached this far but that worry remained. Winds stirred up the fire again later in the week.
Containing the fire with those high winds was quite the task. Warm air hits the foothills from the east. That air then rises and cools causing it to drop back down. This effect causes high speed winds that are known to cause damage and accidents all along the eastern slope of Colorado. Winds are particularly bad in and around Boulder because of the natural boundary that the city is nestled against.
The past few days have seen the fire contained and some residents have been able to return home or to the what is left of it. The cleanup and rebuilding will commence this coming week. Meanwhile, check out this (http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=45675)amazing satellite image showing the long smoke plume that formed around September 6, 2010.