We were getting ready to head out to the local Thursday evening concert. There was a charge in the air. As the hottest summer on record continued, we watched a thunderstorm create nothing but lightening in what we deemed the hotbox. A few specks of rain hit the ground and my arms like I was in the line of fire for a spitting competition from the heavens. The drops were cold, but there were so few of them they felt like acid, messing with my nerves and my senses. I wanted to be home, even though I was kind of already there. Virga was all around. Winds were howling. Then a solitary crack! Instantly, flames erupted like the reef break at Teahupo’o. Fueled by wind and the surrounding ultra-dry landscape, we watched the fire grow into a monster, multi-acre burn in mere minutes. A general “whoa” resonated from everyone. I grabbed a camera. I recorded stills and motion as the fire just plain exploded.
This whole event, put an already uneasy town, into complete unrest. It was currently 106 degrees in Denver and the most destructive wildfire on record was burning everything in sight near Colorado Springs. At 6pm in the evening and only June the whole atmosphere was shrouded in the haze from fires throughout the west. This never happened before. At the concert rumors spread as fast as the fire. Eagle Ranch was burning. Abrams Creek. And the list went on. I watched the helicopters flying up to the locations where I believed they were getting water. I understood their flight patterns, because I myself had flown in and out of the Eagle Airport hundreds of times. I put my friends at ease. We continued to watch and consume cold beverages. Within hours Army Sikorsky Chinooks covered the blaze with thousands of gallons of water and there wasn’t even a glow to photograph after sunset. The devil inside me wanted more, but I was glad that it all faded into the darkness of the night. We would mountain bike through the leftover haze in the early morning hours.