The Daily Camera is now reporting that 169 houses have been lost in the blaze, in addition to the four out buildings and the 24 structures that have been damaged by the Fourmile Canyon Fire. With these new reports, the Fourmile Canyon Fire is now the worst fire in Colorado’s history.
All too soon, the Fourmile Canyon Fire brings back some painful memories of braving the Station Fire last year in Acton, Calif., a peaceful equestrian community about an hour North of L.A.
Of course we heard the news that the Station Fire was getting worse everyday, but never did we think it would burn all the way across the Angeles National Forest, from La Cañada right to us. We smelled the smoke and saw ashes flying through the sky, but still we went on with our days. Until the fire got a little too close to home.
We were evacuated by the Los Angeles Sheriffs department one morning at 2:30 a.m.. Being a property manager for the community, where I also lived, I felt as if I needed to stay until we got everyone out. Not only did we have adults and children, but many horses and other animals on the property as well. This was definitely not a “wait until the last second” occasion. Most of the people residing on the property were gone by sun up.
As the fire rapidly swept through the Angles National Forest, burning thousands of acres in its path, we knew it was only a matter of time until we would all be forced to evacuate.
However, that never happened. We were informed later that day, that if we chose to stay, we were staying at our own risk. Still, we chose to wait it out.
The days were smoke-filled, and our community was like a ghost town. The nights were eerie and spooky; all you could see was the giant red glow behind the mountain. Occasionally you would see flames coming up over the mountain, which were literally right across the street from us. At times, you couldn’t tell if the fire was just behind the ridge, or if it was back a few ridges. So periodically, we would get in our car and drive down the canyon, so we could see where the fire was at the time.
Over the coming days, I had the honor of talking to hundreds of firefighters, from many different stations and states, as they set up camp on our property. These brave men and women came from all over the country to fight the Station Fire. Not only did they put out the blaze, but they saved our lives, our homes, and our community.
I will never forget when one of the firefighters said to me, after thanking him, ” Ma’am, we are just doing our jobs; this is what we were trained to do.”
Two of the brave firefighters perished as a result of the Station Fire when their truck fell off of a mountain side. We will hold their memories in our hearts forever. Twenty-two others were injured.
The Station Fire burned for almost two months before it was completely contained in October 2009. Over 160,000 acres burned. The Station fire is still an on-going arson and homicide investigation almost a year later. Many of the residents and businesses have returned to normal, but the memories we remain with us forever. For more on the Station Fire, click here.