The Casual Observations of the Human Condition

Caution, politically smarmy.
Editor’s Pick
JUNE 14, 2011 9:25PM

Fire update day three.

Rate: 9 Flag

When I got up this morning I felt like I had been sleeping in a tent next to a bonfire all night. The smoke was so thick that you couldn't see the mountains. Needless to say I drove to work again.

Firefighters had worked through the night and the the planes had dumped until it was to dark to safely fly. You'd think there was an airport in the area from the fire planes, spotter planes, water dumping and news helicopters. Between these drops and backfires the danger to town was stopped, yeah! By this afternoon there were only smoldering spots on the side of the hill and the big fire was no longer threatening the north side of town.  Although people in the area are still under an evacuation warning.

The Raton Pass fire Day 2

Look ma! I'm on the news! Or at least under it.

But the news wasn't all good. The fire had burned down seven homes, a recreational cabin and numerous structures like barns and storage sheds. There are many people who went into temporary shelter and now have nothing. The red cross and the banks have already announced plans to help the victims. Also the fire crossed a mountain and burned into the canyon that is the watershed for town. This means the next rainstorm will result in the water becoming somewhat muddy and will have to be double filtered in the future and probably for the next couple of years. The good news is nobody died.


DSC07420.jpg The Raton Pass fire Day 2

Burning up the side of the mountain on Day 2. To get a sense of scale the white spot in the bottom left is the roof of a house.

Meanwhile the original fire has burned North into Colorado. The interstate is still shut down to traffic which means local businesses are suffering from the drop in visitors. The fire has burned into an area known as the Crazy Frenchman's, there's a story behind that name but it's a post in itself.

The Raton Pass fire Day 2

The dump plane making it's drop. The spotter can be seen in the upper left. Photos from Day 2

The bad part is the highway canyon comes out in Trinidad Colorado so they are going to have to make sure it doesn't drop down into town so the crews are going to have to shift their focus. Also beyond Trinidad is open hay fields and if the fire gets into it the farmers are going to be in real trouble by the end of the year, not to mention everyone who relies on them for winter feed. Either way this fire is still bad news.

Today the Governor came to town for an information meeting with the locals. I did listen to part and the forestry service was doing their best to answer questions. I didn't hear what the governor had to say but I am sure I will hear all about it tomorrow. Hopefully the wind doesn't kick up tonight and the smoke jumpers get a handle on at least the highway burn.

Meanwhile I can't see any flames from my house so I am fine.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
I'm sorry that some folks lost property and structures, but glad no one died. Were there any injuries? Hope for a quick recovery. How did your brother's property fare?

That's a terrific image of the plane dropping fire retardant.
Good news mixed with possible bad news....I'm glad your safe and hope the winds die down and all ends well.
Glad you are safe and thanks for writing this. I always love what you write.
good to hear you're still OK and that the town didn't burn. the watershed news, not so good. stay safe and keep the updates coming.
Great photo and report. You are so brave!!! I hope when it comes to our hills here I can be so informative. You give me hope. Thanks
More great reporting and you are really an excellent - and daring - photographer! I'm glad the fire isn't as bad as it could have been, and I hope it stops soon, soon, soon! Stay safe, my thoughts are with you and the other people affected by this event.
now this has made my day..
Great post and congratulations on the EP. New Mexico is on fire everywhere. My friends can see one in Carlsbad. Come Rain!
Congratulations on the very well deserved EP!
Congrats on the EP.

I can sympathize wholeheartedly with what the folks in the Pass are experiencing. It reminds me of living in Santa Fe when the Bandelier fire threatened LANL. The flames then were visible from my apartment building on Cerrillos Road. The smoke streaked the air for about a month.

As long as the crews do their jobs well enough to prevent loss of life, everything else is replaceable.

Keep good thoughts. It'll get under control soon.

I live near one of the fires in Arizona, so I can relate to how you are feeling. Today its going to be 103 with 4o mile an hour winds and no rain in sight. I just can't see how these fires are going to be contained for a long time. Very frightening.