|Photo by TSgt Thomas J. Doscher|
Many of you are aware that Colorado has been beat down over the last week with wildfires threatening homes and families within the Colorado Springs area. As a state, we’ve been hit hard this fire season, with the latest series of fires (the Waldo Canyon Fire) really being too close for comfort.
One of the primary missions of my reserve wing is MAFFS – Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System. During the forest fire season, crews in my squadron stand ready to be tasked. We primarily serve the western/Rocky Mountain region. MAFFS is a joint mission that collaborates with the Department of Defense and the U.S. Forest Service. [Source] If I wasn’t on seasoning training right now, I was going to take advantage of an opportunity to join the MAFFS mission as a member of the command post. I would love to have that chance again in the future. I can’t tell you how proud I’ve felt, watching our C-130s take off to head into the fight, knowing those individuals who’re up there working hand-in-hand with other local agencies to protect our homeland.
That being said, it’s been a crazy week around here. The air quality is really poor, so you can’t go running outside. More than thirty-two thousand people have been evacuated from their homes. Sixteen thousand, seven hundred fifty acres have burned. The gyms on the local bases (including mine) are closed, as they are housing evacuees at this time. Everyone is connected to this tragedy, in some way, shape, or form. We’re finally at 15% containment, which seems like a huge step in the right direction, as small of a number as it may seem. The community has really pulled together in remarkable ways, between donations, volunteering, and folks opening up their homes to displaced neighbors.
I am currently in an area that is unaffected, aside from the smoke in the air. Unfortunately, our home is poorly insulated and has no air conditioning, so in the worst of nights, we’d have to shut the windows and turn on our small fans. The house peaked to 94° inside at one point. We’re not the only ones in the area who don’t have air conditioning – it’s very common, especially for folks in the mountains. Radio stations and other media outlets were encouraging folks without A/C to head to a friend’s home or walk around at the mall/grocery store.
Long story short, that’s what’s been consuming my days and nights. The weather was cooler today and they made strides with the fire fight. We’re praying and hoping for relief and cooler weather in the days to come. Please continue to keep Colorado in your thoughts!