For all of you who don't know, on Saturday a wildfire started in the mountains West of Colorado Springs. The fire forced the evacuation of several thousand residents of Manitou Springs and other mountain communities as it pushed West and South. Due to a change in the wind and the valiant efforts of the fire fighters, the fire lines held and most of the residents were allowed to return home. Yesterday, during the 4pm news conference, the fire, aided by 65 mph winds from the West pushed over the last ridge above Colorado Springs in at least three places and roared down the mountains into the city (Live Map). Over 32,000 people have been evacuated, including one of our employees, and as of this morning at least 100 homes have been destroyed with no relief expected in the weather for several days.
The fire is within a half mile of St. Francis parish and nursing home and burned down the historic Flying W Ranch last night. It is also within a mile of Cave of the Winds and Garden of the Gods, and is burning on the grounds of the Air Force Academy. We had ash falling on our deck yesterday and we live over 20 miles from the fires!
The outpouring of support from the local community has been incredible. On Sunday, Care and Share received over 92,000 pounds of food donations and the local food banks and Red Cross centers have been so overwhelmed with donated items that apart from Care and Share, they are asking for monetary donations going forward. Our family went out on Monday to help collect donations and build collection crates at the Care and Share and seeing the amazing generosity of the community was heart warming. We unloaded a pickup that must have been full of someone's whole paycheck worth of water and food.
For the rest of the week, Aquinas and More will be donating 10% of its sales to the local support efforts. Also, for every order over $60, we will be donating a pewter St. Florian medal and prayer card to the local firefighters. For the moment, mail and parcel services are scheduled to continue as usual even though one of the Fedex processing centers was evacuated last night. If there are any changes to that information, we will post updates on our Facebook page.
Please say a prayer for the firefighters and for a change in the weather!
Oh, Almighty God, whose great power and eternal wisdom embraces the universe, watch over all Firefighters.
Protect them from harm in the performance of their duty to fight fire, save lives, and preserve property.
We pray, help them to keep our homes and all buildings safe day and night.
We recommend them to Your loving care because their duty is dangerous.
Grant them Your unending strength and courage in their daily assignments.
Dear God, protect these brave persons. Grant them Your Almighty protection and unite them safely with their families after duty has ended.