Saturday, March 26th – My father and I are returning from a spring break trip to Steamboat, driving north along the foothills while heading to Boulder. We’re going to visit my dad’s childhood friend, who lives on the infamous “hill” near the CU Boulder Campus.
Coming up 93 approaching the Eldorado Springs area, we were surprised to see what looked like fog sitting along the Flat Irons. As we got closer, however, it began to look more like a cloud, and then more like smoke rising in the distance. I immediately picked up my phone and googled “Boulder fire”, and low and behold, the NCAR Fire had just begun.
The wildfire began Saturday afternoon around the National Center for Atmospheric Research, causing several thousand evacuations in South Boulder. As of Sunday morning, 21% of the fire had been contained having already burned 189-acres.
Despite seeing the smoke from the car, we continued on into Boulder. The house we were visiting is right near Chautauqua Park, so we put on some sneakers and headed up into the hills, hoping to catch a view of the burn from a safe distance. Unfortunately, I was only able to catch some photos of the smoke rising above the NCAR buildings, but it was still worth the hike. Some planes flew overhead, though they dropped out of view before dropping any fire retardant.
The reality of wildfires in the United States is scary right now. The fact that the first warm and sunny day of the year immediately sees a wildfire says something very dark about this season. Stay safe out there, listen to evacuation orders, and don’t chase the fires like I nearly did.
Photo Credit: Nolan Deck