Waldo Canyon Fire
Many who work at or have visited Nazarene Bible College will not hesitate to tell you the beauty of our Christian college. Our college's structures have always been unique, just like the land it sits on and landscape it provides. Standing at the top of the cement in the center of the college not only sits the Ward Bell Tower, it shows a stunning view of our mountain line, including Colorado's well-known mountain, Pikes Peak. It almost sounds cliché talking about the feelings brought on by last Saturday's event but it truly is a day that will live in infamy.
Early Saturday morning began like any other hot summer day in Colorado Springs. Families were going on with their usual weekend activities when the smoke was first noticed. Shortly after, my brother in law received a call that his house in Cascade was ordered to evacuate as a fire had just broke out in the Waldo Canyon area. Our instincts were to drop everything, grab bags, tubs, and extra hands, and immediately head over to his childhood home to help in any way possible.
We knew these weather conditions were not in our favor; Colorado had an unseasonably dry winter followed by an extremely dry and hot summer. We were in the middle of a drought with no foreseeable rain in sight. Several hours and bottles of water later, the possessions were packed into cars and safely transferred to their new house.
Later that day, the town eagerly watched the fire as the smoke billowed over the hills. My family and I were in a safe zone, but were very cautious. Bags were packed in case the winds were to change and push it in our direction. It didn't take long for this fire to rage, but the city responded just as quickly by offering their help, homes, resources, and prayers.
Tuesday evening took a turn as the winds changed. A trip to the store was all the time it took for the fire to creep over the mountain and begin heading down the hill towards our heavily populated neighborhoods. Watching the news was surreal as you could see the worry on the newscaster's faces. However the words being broadcasted were "All we can do now is pray." Through God's grace and power, 26,000 people were evacuated in a matter of hours safely with no accidents or injuries.
While the West side of Colorado Springs has been threatened, Nazarene Bible College lies untouched and unharmed over on the East side. Nevertheless, Dr. Laurel Matson asks, "However, we urge you to pray for all of us, and for those who have been so devastated by this blaze." On Wednesday, our continuing education Registrar Dr. Jay Ott expressed to us that "the need is getting much larger." He said, "We delivered our first load of donations to Care and Share this morning." with more donations to follow soon.
There are currently over 32,000 people displaced, more than 16,000 acres burned, and 1000 plus firefighters fighting around the clock. Although we have lost houses in the fires path, everyone made it out safe and no firefighters have been hurt. Praise God! In this dire situation that could have broken us, we have remained faithful in God and prayer. This fire may take material items and the natural beauty from our land for now, but we will rebuild and prosper. It never ceases to amaze me how even through events of devastation, cities will come together. Even more incredible is knowing we came together through God.
This time will never be forgotten, but the mark it'll leave behind will always remind us of how we prevailed. Someone explained the fire to me as a glassmaker would make glass. In order to make glass, the work of art remains in the fire until the glassmaker sees their own reflection in it. In the same way God uses this technique to strengthen His people. We may be going through the fire, but there is no doubt that God is seeing Himself in us. We were faced with a challenge from the Devil but have come out shining and with our heads held high. It is impossible to not notice that we are blessed people and we will continue to reach to Him and praise Him through any event we may go through. Our faith in God and this town has proven strong and because of that the beauty of our region will forever remain intact.
Filed Under: Blog Published: 06/27/2012