Two weeks ago, I sat in bed sweating my metaphorical balls off when I heard a clap of thunder and the pitter-patter of rain outside my window. My first thought was one of relief: finally, a break from this record-breaking heat. My second came almost immediately after and was not relieving at all: if there’s thunder, there’s lightning.
Within minutes, friends had updated their Facebook statuses with news of a fire just down the road from where I live. Instagram updates flooded my news feed with pictures of smoke billowing over the iconic Flatirons. We were hit. Just like Fort Collins and Colorado Springs.
So I did what I thought best. I grabbed my camera and made my neighbor drive me to the base of the mountains to snap some pictures. Park rangers and officers had already closed off the trails. News coverage teams set up video cameras and scantily clad reporters tested microphone levels. One kid lit up a cigarette and was promptly reprimanded by a woman shouting, “ARE YOU SERIOUSLY SMOKING WHEN THERE IS A FIRE RIGHT THERE?”
Not soon after I returned home to upload my shots was the message, “COLORADO ON FIRE” plastered on every news channel. It wasn’t long before they were calling for pre-evacuations of homes I had been standing in front of not 20 minutes before. I watched as the state I love literally went up in flames.
Mother Nature scarred Colorado. Hundreds of thousands of acres were burnt to the ground in the state’s most devastating wildfire season in a decade. At one point, as many as 10 wildfires raged across the state due to high winds and dry heat.
But apparently, “Mother Nature is finally giving us some relief,” said Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper yesterday. Instead of fire, the Centennial State has been doused in rainstorms allowing the statewide fire ban to be lifted, just a mere five days after causing my most depressing Independence Day ever (apparently fireworks would’ve posed a problem to the already burning environment).
But here’s the real kicker: The excessive rain that helped to quell the wildfires has now brought flood warnings and mudslides across Colorado. The irony is not lost on me, Mother Nature. You replaced one disaster with another and have just taught us the meaning of, “Too much of a good thing is a bad thing.”
With that said, right now the major wildfires are or are almost completely contained. Governor Hickenlooper warns that Colorado is not out of the charred woods yet; there is still plenty of wildfire season to go. The rainstorms have brought much needed cooler weather to the mountains, but much more and they will wash Colorado away.
Mother Nature, I beg of you, don’t burn down my state or drown it. Come back during ski season with fresh powder and I’ll greet you with open arms.