The Spring Fire is the third largest in the state’s history. By the time I learned about it, the fire had already burned through more than 40,000 acres. A plume of smoke unfurled into a constantly replenished mushroom cloud. It was 0 percent “contained,” meaning that no human-made or natural barrier was stopping the fire’s edge from expanding. Costilla and Huerfano counties had evacuated around 2,000 households by July 2.
The fire had, by then, grown to more than 56,000 acres, just 5 percent contained.
I arrived at my cabin on the 3rd, hose in hand, knowing I couldn’t really help the house but not knowing what else to do. The Spring Fire had bloomed to nearly 80,000 acres. The Department of Transportation closed the highway right at the turnoff to my place. Big-bellied planes full of retardant crossed the sky overhead, their flight path traversing part of the bullishly-named Wet Valley.
That night, the sunset, reflecting off the smoke particles, was spectacular. The mountains