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Columns » Street Smarts

Smoke gets in your eyes

Street Smarts



It was harrowing to view panoramic aerial shots of last summer's Waldo Canyon Fire on the nightly news. However, it had a way of soliciting your full, undivided attention to witness it as an in-progress event from your own front yard, lungs burning. Six months later, it still evokes strong emotions.


Canda McCombe from Security is an accountant

Where were you when you heard about the Waldo fire? What did you think? I work out of my house, so I was at home. It didn't really get on my radar at first. I never dreamed it would get as big as it did.

Relate your closest brush with disaster. The summer before last my family had to be evacuated from a camp near Westcliffe because of a forest fire.

If given five minutes to flee, what would you grab out of your house? My computer and the safe I bought after the Waldo fire to keep my important papers in.

Is there a lesson you learned from the Waldo fire? Be prepared. No matter what the neighborhood, disaster can happen to any of us at any time.


Douglas Rouse from Old Colorado City is a mural artist

Where were you and what did you think when you heard about the Waldo fire? My wife and I were in Sedona, Arizona, where I was painting a mural. We were in a panic because my sister and my wife's mother and sister, who live in Mountain Shadows, had been ordered to evacuate.

What's your closest brush with a major disaster otherwise? A tornado went through an area near where I lived as a kid in Kansas.

If given five minutes to evacuate your residence, what would you grab? My computer and my dog. We went through that drill last summer. Just in case, we had someone pack up a few of our things while we drove back to Colorado on the big Tuesday of the fire.

Did the Waldo fire teach you anything? How unimportant "stuff" is. How little we really need.


Simon Waldbaum from Fountain is a science teacher

Where were you and what did you think when you first heard about the Waldo Canyon Fire? I was on the Western Slope of Colorado, but my wife was in our Rockrimmon home. She had to evacuate for two days. Things were really up in the air.

What's your closest brush with disaster? That was by far my closest, but I've been in some impressive lightning storms while camping.

What would you grab from home if you had five minutes to evacuate? My computer and the file cabinet that has my birth certificate and passport and such.

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