The grove is trembling, and your Green Man is in mourning. A raging inferno is roaring through the Rocky Mountains near my home. It's a sprawling monster of a wildfire--the biggest in my county's history. I liken it to an octopus because the blaze has numerous tentacles of scorching flame marauding through the pristine, green expanses of forest land , up mountainsides and destroying everything in its path. It's has plenty to burn because its deep in Roosevelt National Forest, which is packed with dense pine trees and rocky terrain. The factor increasing the wildfires fuel stems from the pine beetle.
During a normal winter, most of the pine beetles die off, so the damage they inflicted on pine trees was minimal. However, now that the Earth has warmed considerably from global warming, the climate change has left too many pine beetles alive to where there is now an infestation. At a rapid rate, these beetles kill whole tracts of pine trees leaving them bone dry and their evergreen needles red. These swaths of dry trees have given this fire the speed and power it has needed to expand so far, so fast. This video below gives you a good idea of the size and scale of this raging fire:
Here in Northern Colorado we have smaller mountains called "foothills." We call them "foothills" but in the rest of the country they'd probably be considered proper mountains. It's only because these foothills are much smaller compared to the giant "fourteeners" (which are mountains above 14,000 ft above sea level). Anyway, these foothills bulge up in long ridges that gain higher elevation the closer they bump up against the giant "fourteeners" that most people know as the Rocky Mountains. These rows of foothill ridges are like the rows of ripples that extend out from a center after dropping a rock in a pond. It's in these ridges of the foothills where the fire is burning in that video. This next video gives you a good idea of what this fire looks like at night, which can be seen just on the edge of town, that is how close this fire is too towns that bump up against the foothills. It looks like a volcano!!!
My friends live in a remote cabin about a ridge back into the foreground of the first video. It's not burning where they are (yet) but they are only a couple miles from the inferno, which is too close!! It's in that South/Southwest area of the fire zone they mentioned in the 9news video (the first video). If the wind shifts slightly it could roar straight for them. Their cabin isn't a "vacation home" but rather their year round home. The husband can't live anywhere else because the cities drive him crazy. Me too, but as of yet I can't afford to buy a cabin. However, as soon as I can afford one I'll be back up in the hills too!! I want to find a remote area to build a cabin and then disappear from the world.
But, I digress. Watching footage like this literally makes my chest ache with heaviness. It hurts to see so many beloved trees reduced to ashes, but Mother Nature, in her infinite wisdom will bring rebirth from those ashes--just like the regenerative phoenix of ancient lore. She has infused within the ashes powerful nutrients that will transform these scored areas into another fertile generation of her green children. These are the cycles of the forests here, but fires this big are rare in our area. Colorado has always dealt with forest fires since we live in the mountains, but when I was a kid growing up here there weren't so many wildfires, nor as powerful and big. That makes sense as a recent article I read explained that global warming is making these fires bigger, hotter and therefore more dangerous. Especially with dry, brittle, dead trees to fuel them. We'll make it through this, but it's always sad to say good-bye to friends, including my tree friends. I know new ones will grow up stronger in their place, but it's always a bittersweet reality.
Of greater concern for me are the wild animals being displaced by this unpredictable blaze. Forest Rangers and mountain experts are saying that they are seeing bears, moose, deer and other animals in unusual places. Bears are standing in the middle of roads, knowing there aren't trees to burn there. Meanwhile, one moose made it's way down into the city of Fort Collins!! He ended up standing out in the middle of a man-made pond on a Fort Collins man's property!! I hope there aren't too many dead critters after this fire, but that's apart of nature's cycles too. The key focus is on rebirth--life will go on.
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