In my second work, EMPIRE, a massive Colorado wildfire clouds the hills and colors the sunsets, but also instills fear into my main character. This detail may seem like it has great timing, however, given my firefighter husband and his working knowledge of the pine beetle infestation, the fires that are going on now (just miles from our home) are expected.

For those of you that are familiar with forest or structure fires, what is memorable about them? What do you wish that you knew (or didn’t know) before you had that experience? What is burned (pardon the pun) into your brain after seeing such a destructive force?

I remember that 10 years ago, the Hayman fire decimated large swaths of land and homes just west of Colorado Springs. The wind would carry the scent of smoke and drop yellowed ash on my windshield. There have been two fires at my mother’s house (while I was living there); they were quite small, smouldering fires that cost a lot of money to fix but there wasn’t any degree of trauma that occurred.

So if there are any details that you find interesting that I should add to my manuscript before my editor gets his hands on it, please let me know!

image credit: everythingsright.com


4 thoughts on “Wildfire

  1. The image that always stands out in my mind from a forest fire is how the sky looks like it is perpetually afternoon, or that one is witnessing a solar eclipse, because the smoke in the air makes the sunlight so dark and orange. The worst thing for me to think about with the High Park fire (which isn’t far from my hometown of Loveland) is the abandonment of everything material that one cares about, including animals. I consider animals to be more like family, but the stories I have heard in the news about people leaving their pets behind is just heartbreaking.

    • My mother was a psychotherapist for the Hayman fires, and she told me that many families were upset by the loss of their horses. I can’t imagine people just leaving their animals to die in fires. My kids and dogs would be the first ones in the Jeep!

      • My mom is a horse enthusiast and has been donating bails of hay to The Ranch for the animals that are being sheltered there. I’m glad that a lot of the animals are making it out ok.
        Also, I just read a news article that referred to the High Park fire as a “dragon [that] tried to lure us into thinking it was sleeping” (in regards to the fact that the fire got so much worse yesterday). I found the comparison to a dragon tragically beautiful.

      • Sounds like you’d get a kick out o my first novel, then (it was printed in January). It’s based on my grandparents relationship before and during WWII.

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