Hell has descended on Colorado

Friends gathering at StrongWinds, CO

This email arrived today from my classmate and friend Harry Strong from Ridgway, Colorado. His home – named “StrongWinds” – sits on the Continental Divide just a few miles northwest of Colorado Springs. In this photo of an annual gathering of friends at “StrongWinds” several years ago, Harry is on the left. He and Anna moved to Ridgeway, CO last fall. They put StrongWinds on the market and are scheduled to close on a sale July 9…..Here’s the email just as I received it..

“HELL has descended on Colorado!
‘StrongWinds’ is still standing for the time being. We’re scheduled to close on a sale July 9, assuming it’s still standing and the buyer doesn’t simply decide to forfeit his $5,000 earnest money & walk (or run).

“The entire area between Woodland Park and the Air Force Academy is ablaze.
Green Mountain Falls, where our little Church in the Wildwood is located, was evacuated Saturday. No services last Sunday. Many members’ homes are in danger.
Our former pastor, Dave, and his 4-year old son are in Woodland Park.
His wife, Stacey, and 2-year old daughter are with her parents in Colorado Springs.
Dave can’t get to them because Highway 24 is closed.

“Gasoline stations have run out of gas – grocery store shelves are bare. No trucks can get through with deliveries. Media teams keep having to move as well as evacuation centers, because the fires are spreading so quickly. Temperatures have been over 100 all week – higher winds are forecast for tomorrow. I fear the worst is yet to come.
Here in SW Colorado there are 2 other fires to the south of us – but so far we’re safe here in Ridgway.

“Prayers welcome – more later – Harry.

Colorado fire 2012

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About Gordon C. Stewart

I've always liked quiet. And, like most people, I've experienced the world's madness. "Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness" (Wipf and Stock Publishers, Jan. 2017) distills 47 years of experiencing stillness and madness as a campus minister and Presbyterian pastor (IL, WI, NY, OH, and MN), poverty criminal law firm executive director, and social commentator. Our dog Barclay reminds me to calm down and be much more still than I would be without him.

9 thoughts on “Hell has descended on Colorado

  1. Thanks, Mona, Sparks, & Christina – Harry here. I appreciate each of your comments and concern! Things remain pretty grave tonight in the Colorado Springs/Woodland Park area. Lots of wind shifts today. Exhausted fire-fighters. Many homes burned. New areas evacuated. My home in Divide is still OK – for now. If there’s a silver lining, it’s in how folks are helping one another try to weather the storm. I’m sure there are thousands of folks in Florida who would love to have Superman fly their 26 inches of rain out west and dump it on the Rockies. Grace& Peace.


    • Mona, Thanks. Harry may well lose his house, and if he doesn’t, there may not be a buyer. But all that forest, its creatures and their natural habitat will be gone. A follow-up email moments ago added the fact that people will not get mail to add to their dilemma. Bills, late payments, etc.


    • Hi Sparks, I know that you are a person of great compassion. Your powers of empatny for others in trouble exceed most of the rest of us. This IS horrible. I hope you’ll read what I just wrote in reply to Christina. Prayers are in order. And, if you know someone who’s in danger there, an email, a phone call, etc. will also let them know they have supporters.


  2. Unbelievable. I had no idea it was so bad. I guess I have been too busy to seek out the news, and it has not, until now, been seeking me. I am hoping for a miracle for CO.


    • Christina, I have to confess – although I don’t think it’s confessable maeterial – that I often protect myself from news about which I can do nothing. There’s so much bad news out there. I try to live “within the circle of my influence.” Until now I’ve pretty much looked the other way on these raging fires. Now that Harry has brought it home to me and made it something about which I might have some small influence, it deserves and holds my attention. Too much bad news sends us down very dark holes of hopelessness and helplessness – not a good thing for any of us. Prayers are in order.


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