[lug] some of my pix from the fire

Tom Christiansen tchrist at perl.com
Sat Jan 10 15:01:39 MST 2009


please find some of the shots I took all night Wednesday of the "little"
fire (1400/3600 acres or so) back behind my house a-ways.  Most have had
no editing (or the filenames would say so by being called -alt or -crop).

The first row of four shows the progression that led to my being nervous.
It should be obvious why. Some of the later ones, if you zoom way in, show
silhouettes of firefighters on the line.

I have a time-lapse of a few dozen shots in a row, each at 2s exposures,
that I need to figure out to make an animated GIF out of.

The newspaper pix told nothing about how it looked from my house, and
the nationwide AP story the next day messed up badly, reporting only on the
lesser Niwot Fire of 100 acres, not on the MUCH bigger and scarier one I
document.  Of course, Niwot Ridge has all those 7000-ft² horse-mansions on
it, so that's what they keyed on.  Plus my fire didn't get terrible until
after the AP story went out to the non-local papers.

Pic 4 in the sequence, the very scary one, was the backfire the 300
firefighters lit along US-36 and right-angling up by the houses to try to
make a firebreak.  It flared up very tall and very brightly, and I couldn't
tell quite where it was.  It looked like Wonderland Lake's woods were
aflame. and coming at me.

That's when I called the cops to find out whether I was in the evacuation
zone; I wasn't, and they said they'd reverse-911 me if needed.  Turns out
only 10% of the people who got the evac call actually did so!

The firefighters' plan worked, and it's truly amazing how few injuries
resulted and how few structures were damaged.  The fire did leap US-36 and
merge with the Niwot Fire, but that happened further north from that point.

I'm glad Google has added a terrain option with proper topo lines,
so people can see just how steep it was there.  Compare the usefulness
of a satellite photo (which, being the ultimate of all telephotos shots,
compresses all perspective into 2D flatness) with tight topography lines:

Map + Sat version:


Map + Topo version:



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