When it Rains — It Pours

Red Feather Lakes Community Library. Photo courtesy of Alisha Jeffers.

Creed Kidd

When it rains, it pours.

Or rather, when it doesn’t rain – as has been this summer — vegetation dries to a dangerous state where a spark, lightning strike, or errant campfire can strike very dangerous fires that spreads quickly and surely through very dry fuel. Difficult to contain.

So, when it rains it pours. At least in the sense that while Colorado continues to combat and limit the COVID-19 outbreak there’s also the contention of a large, extended fire season that affects all of us: from physical danger through the loss of beautiful natural habitat through property damage and destruction through large expenditures of purse and time to the ever-present smoke. Every breath is a reminder.

Here in beautiful downtown Red Feather Lakes with two-block, unpaved Main Street that hosts as many ground squirrels as vehicular traffic – we’re currently 15 miles (as the smoke plumes) to the northeast of the very active and dangerous Cameron Peak Fire.

There’s a sense of déjà vu for many of us that remember well as the 2012 High Park Fire: the loss of property and homes, disruption of routine and lives, and the ‘square one’ return to fundamentals.

For example, the Red Feather Lakes Library provided not only the usual games, toys and small gifts for that year’s summer reading program, but also basic hygiene kits: toothbrush and paste, tissue, mouthwash and grooming supplies for those who had been displaced through the fire.

We remember the gentleman coming in to apply for a library card. When asked for a residential address, he hesitated and then reported that his house had burned the week before. He was promptly issued a card; we could both empathize and be impressed by his grasp of ‘square one’ domestic subsistence as well as the continued need, as Whittier put it, for “hyacinths to feed thy soul” for the subsistence of the mind.

We do greatly appreciate the efforts of countless individuals in authority … US Forest Service, Larimer County Emergency, the Larimer Sheriff’s Office, operators of Inciweb, and volunteers such as the North40 Alliance in combating the fire, providing safety assistance for residents and travelers, and providing essential up-to-date information in charting both the course of the fire and facilitating informed personal choices.

For county residents, we strongly recommend registering with LETA (Larimer Emergency Telephone Authority) to receive real-time emergency alerting: https://leta911.org/.

Many state and federal agencies provide local emergency information and updates. We recommend registering with a local Red Feather Mountain group, the North 40 Alliance (https://n40alliance.org/) that ‘pushes’ these updates to subscribers by email or text and also catalogs sometimes disparate sources of authoritative information.

Good information is essential in emergencies. As we’ve noted, when it rains it pours – and we certainly don’t want anyone out of the loop for 40 days and 40 nights.

For more information regarding Red Feather Lakes Library, visit: https://redfeather.colibraries.org or email [email protected]

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