I don’t know how so many fires can occur in one season, it seems very dramatic with the smoke billowing up the foothills and the slurry bombers flying overhead. Today was a unique day in Boulder. People were roaming the streets in costume. Witches, ghosts and zombies all out in the daylight and they were out as the foothills looming overhead were on fire.
Walking the neighborhoods today that were being evacuated, I didn’t want to be in the way. So I stayed clear of the people who were frantically packing their possessions. there were cars lining the streets and they had hatches open or they were already packed. People were sorting through their belongings deciding what they could live without and what needed to come with them. I walked along and just observed them. It is a strange feeling, especially walking with a large camera in this condition, I feel as though I was marked as an outsider, though it is possible that nobody noticed me at all.
As some of the residence packed others congregated in the streets, they watched the slurry planes fly overhead and dump their payload only a short distance away. The air was thick with smoke and the sun was very warm considering how cold it has been over the past week. The fire tourists were out in full force and when I realized that I was probably one of them I had to turn back. At least I wasn’t clogging the road with my car, but I was there and I felt like that may be too much.
Sprinklers were on all over the place. Some had put portable lawn sprinklers on their roof in order to make sure that embers from the fire didn’t get caught up on their house. the constant sound of planes flying over, swooping and dumping became normal and the uncertainty of what was going to happen was part of the atmosphere. After I had felt like I had taken up to much space I left and headed back home.
It was interesting to see the array of things that were left behind in some people rush to leave. Other people were taking their time however and I believe they were hoping that the evacuations would be called off. It was also interesting to see how different the atmosphere was when I crossed from 7th st to the next block. Cars filled up and people scurrying around on one block and no action on the next. (7th st was the evacuation border)
I hope that everyone I saw today has a house to come back to. It seems surreal that their homes could be destroyed since they are mostly in some of the oldest portions of Boulder. I guess only time will tell.