Colorado Springs brothers Chandler and Cooper Osborn raising money for Hurricane Sandy victims at the Colorado Springs Sugar Plum Festival
Giving Thanks for America’s Givers
by Michelle Malkin
Chandler Osborn, 14, watched Fox News coverage of Hurricane Sandy last week and decided to take action.
“Last weekend, me and my younger brother, Cooper, 7, did a fundraiser in Colorado Springs to help the people” affected by the storm, he told me. The siblings set up a table at the Colorado Springs Sugar Plum Festival, gave away patriotic car magnets and pins for any donations, and collected signatures on a giant banner of support for the victims. “We raised $612 in one weekend.”
The Osborns joined countless Americans across the country who stepped up, in small and large ways, to help their fellow citizens in need. While this election season was a contentious battle between makers and takers, this Thanksgiving season is a time to honor the givers who keep the nation’s private philanthropic spirit alive.
In times of crisis, it’s individual citizens, churches, businesses and charitable organizations — not federal government bureaucrats — who mobilize first and fastest to provide aid and comfort. Tom Laureys noted in the Parsippany (New Jersey) Daily Record: “The first people to help Hurricane Sandy victims were the neighbors helping their neighbors for free. The Red Cross was the first organization to arrive to help. FEMA was the last. The FEMA workers stayed at the Soho Grand Hotel at $310 per night.”
On Staten Island, a group of residents banded together, bought their own walkie-talkies, and provided the debris-clearing and water-pumping services that no one else was providing.
“We’ve done more for our community than FEMA, the Red Cross and the National Guard combined, directly hitting houses and people in need,” Frank Recce, a 24-year-old longshoreman and Army Iraq War veteran who organized the “Brown Cross” group, told FoxNews.com.
Here in Colorado Springs, the raging Waldo Canyon wildfire brought volunteers of all political stripes together to support local first responders and help nearly 350 devastated families who lost their homes.
By the time President Obama arrived in Colorado nearly a full week after the fire ignited, churches, businessmen and civic groups had united to donate mountains of clothes, lend phones, shelter pets and open their homes to the displaced. The outpouring of compassion was so overwhelming that volunteers were turned away from shelters and centers.
The left-leaning Colorado Springs Independent, conservative Focus on the Family, Pikes Peak United Way, World Arena, the city’s philharmonic and others raised more than a half-million dollars during a community benefit concert for the Waldo Canyon Victim Assistance Fund.
One organization, Care and Share, collected nearly 73,000 pounds of food and water for the brave firefighters who battled the blaze. On top of that, Care and Share volunteers distributed more than 440,000 pounds of food and water to affected residents. An amazing surplus remains: The group has 332,593 pounds of food and $379,032 in donations remaining to distribute for the holidays.
According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, America’s top 50 donors gave a total of $10.4 billion in 2011. But it’s the small, unsung acts of everyday giving and doing — like the Osborn brothers’ $612 or the Staten Island citizen brigade’s do-it-yourself volunteerism — that add up. In sum, Americans contributed $136 billion to charitable causes. The median discretionary income of the American giver? $54,783.
God bless America, the Charitable.
High Park Fire, image via InciWeb
What did I tell ya? The embers of the High Park and Waldo Canyon fires have barely died down, but the enviro-nitwit Democrats on Capitol Hill are already pushing for a House hearing into wildfires and “climate change.”
Via The Hill, which gets the headline right: “Dems use wildfires to call for hearings on climate change.”
Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), a top House Democrat, is urging the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Republican majority to hold a hearing that explores links between climate change and extreme weather.
The request, spelled out in a letter Friday, is a sign that Democrats and environmentalists hope to translate the recent record-setting heatwaves into political momentum for efforts to battle global warming.
It asks Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) to convene a hearing “on the recent wildfires and extreme weather events the United States has experienced and the role global climate change played in these events.”
Waxman, the committee’s top Democrat, notes that Republicans have declined repeated requests over the past year to hold hearings on climate science.
How about a hearing on how Obama bureaucrats canceled crucial aerial tanker contracts, which I spotlighted on June 20?
How about a hearing on how Clinton-era roadless regulations have increased wildfire risks in Colorado and across the West?
How about a hearing on how critical air support sat grounded while the fires raged?
Nope. Can’t have reality-based factors intrude on Inquisitor Henry Waxman’s narrative. The Dems’ actual goal isn’t truth or accountability, after all. It’s Green Kabuki Theater.
Flashback June 29, 2012: Democrats’ New Motto: Never Let a Wildfire Go to Waste
Flashback July 6, 2012: Global warming blame-ologists play with fire
Flashback June 20, 2012: How Obama Bureaucrats Fueled Western Wildfires
Global warming blame-ologists play with fire
by Michelle Malkin
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Good news: The Waldo Canyon fire, which forced 32,000 residents (including our family) to flee, claimed two lives and destroyed 347 homes, is now 100 percent contained. Bad news: Radical environmentalists won’t stop blowing hot air about this year’s infernal season across the West.
Al Gore slithered out of the political morgue to bemoan nationwide heat records and pimp his new “Climate Reality Project,” which blames global warming for the wildfire outbreak. NBC meteorologist Doug Kammerer asserted: “If we did not have global warming, we wouldn’t see this.” Agriculture Department Undersecretary Harris Sherman, who oversees the Forest Service, claimed to the Washington Post: “The climate is changing, and these fires are a very strong indicator of that.”
And the Associated Press (or rather, the Activist Press) lit the fear-mongering torch with an eco-propaganda piece titled “U.S. summer is what ‘global warming will look like.’”
The problem is that the actual conclusions of scientists included in AP’s screed don’t back up the apocalyptic headline. As the reporter acknowledges under that panicky banner:
“Scientifically linking individual weather events to climate change takes intensive study, complicated mathematics, computer models and lots of time. Sometimes it isn’t caused by global warming. Weather is always variable; freak things happen.”
So, this U.S. summer may or may not really look like “what global warming looks like.” Kinda. Sorta. Possibly. Possibly not.
Furthermore, the AP reporter concedes, the “global” nature of the warming and its supposed catastrophic events have “been local. Europe, Asia and Africa aren’t having similar disasters now, although they’ve had their own extreme events in recent years.”
A more hedging headline would have been journalistically responsible, but Chicken Little-ism better serves the global warming blame-ologists’ agenda.
More inconvenient truths: As The Washington Times noted this week, the National Climatic Data Center shows that “Colorado has actually seen its average temperature drop slightly from 1998 to 2011, when data is collected only from rural stations and not those that have been urbanized since 1900.”
Radical green efforts to block logging and timber sales in national forests since the 1990s are the real culprits. Wildlife mitigation experts point to incompetent forest management and militant opposition to thinning the timber fuel supply.
Another symptom of green obstructionism: widespread bark beetle infestations. The U.S. Forest Service itself reported last year:
“During the last part of the 20th century, widespread treatments in lodgepole pine stands that would have created age class diversity, enhanced the vigor of remaining trees, and improved stand resiliency to drought or insect attack — such as timber harvest and thinning — lacked public acceptance. Proposals for such practices were routinely appealed and litigated, constraining the ability of the Forest Service to manage what had become large expanses of even-aged stands susceptible to a bark beetle outbreak.”
Capitulation to lawsuit-happy green thugs, in others, undermined “public acceptance” of common sense, biodiversity-preserving and lifesaving timber harvest and thinning practices.
Local, state and federal officials offered effusive praise for my fellow Colorado Springs residents who engaged in preventive mitigation efforts in their neighborhoods. The government flacks said it made a life-and-death difference. Yet, litigious environmental groups have sabotaged such mitigation efforts at the national level — in effect, creating an explosive tinderbox out of the West.
Stoking global warming alarms may make for titillating headlines and posh Al Gore confabs. But it’s a human blame avoidance strategy rooted in ideological extremism and flaming idiocy.
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Robert Treat Paine
Kate Smith sings “God Bless America:”
My family is counting our blessings more than ever this after the past week’s events. Here in Colorado Springs, the community is joining together for a wildfire relief benefit concert at the World Arena. 8,000 tickets were snapped up in just a few days. All proceeds/donations will benefit wildfire families hit hardest by the blaze. The Fray’s front man Isaac Slade will be a featured guest, as will the singers from the Flying W Ranch — a beloved, historic landmark that burned to the ground.
You’ll be able to watch the live broadcast/livestream telethon through multiple outlets:
The concert will be live broadcast on KOAA 5, Rocky Mountain PBS, KXRM Fox 21, KRDO, KKTV 11 News,
KRCC 91.5 FM, 88.7 KCME-FM, 92.9 PEAK FM, Cat Country 95.1 FM, Classic Rock 98.1 KKFM, KLite 106.3, My 99.9, Y96.9, 96.1 The Beat, Z107.9, 95.5 KPHT, AM 590 KCSJ, and AM 1350 KCCY. Portions of the broadcast will be aired on KILO 94.3 and 103.9 RXP.
Attendees will have the opportunity to make monetary donations to the Waldo Canyon Victims’ Assistance Fund at the event and throughout the broadcast. Additionally, Care and Share Food Bank donations will be accepted. Thanks to a generous group of event underwriters led by the Colorado Springs Independent and Focus on the Family, 100% of funds raised through the event will go directly to local relief efforts via the Waldo Canyon Fire Victims’ Assistance Fund, created by KOAA 5, Pikes Peak United Way, and El Pomar Foundation. CHEFS Catalog has generously provided their call center and volunteer employees for telethon donations during the event.
In a joint statement, John Weiss, Publisher of the Independent and Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family, said, “Fighting this fire, we are one community—together. Yes, we have had our differences, but we are united in reaching out to fire victims in their time of need and also honoring those risking their lives fighting this devastating tragedy.”
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!
After a long-prayed-for rainstorm this afternoon, this just appeared over the Colorado Springs skies:
I’m confident there wasn’t a dry eye across the city. Certainly not in my household.
Please continue to keep all our friends and neighbors who lost everything in the Waldo Canyon Fire in your prayers.
Help Colorado Now is still your best resource for ways to help.
Tomorrow, there will be an Independence Day benefit concert at World Arena — A Community Rises – organized by community leaders from all parts of the political spectrum. Issac Slade of The Fray will be a featured performer and all proceeds will benefit wildfire victims.
Or rather: SURVIVORS.
We are so proud, grateful, and honored to be part of this amazing community.
I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. – Genesis 9:13
As I have noted over the past few weeks, we are not out of the woods by any means.
In Utah, the Alpine fire is raging and evacuations are under way. Stay safe and vigilant, my Western neighbors and friends.
Our front door
My family and I finally arrived home yesterday after a full week on mandatory evacuation. We are all counting our blessings and praying hard for our dear friends and fellow residents who don’t have a front door to walk through.
Deepest thanks to all who e-mailed and tweeted well wishes for us and for all of Colorado. We are humbled by the kindness and generosity of so many who offered/lent a hand.
While national media interest and White House attention will disappear, the Colorado Springs community will be hard at work rebuilding. All those Burkean “little platoons” of civil society I wrote about last week will carry the ball:
*Please help us support these organizations and efforts supporting evacuees.
*More resources at Help Colorado Now.
*On July 4, there will be a benefit concert to aid fire victims at the World Arena.
The Waldo Canyon Fire has consumed nearly 17,700 acres and is now nearly 45 percent contained. Firefighters are working tirelessly to contain the remaining blazes; the estimated containment date of July 16 may be pushed up thanks to improved weather conditions yesterday. But it’s still an active and volatile stew of fire, smoke, heat, and fuel.
We’re not out of the woods yet:
SUNDAY, 1 a.m.: Mother Nature may make another appearance at the Waldo Canyon fire Sunday.
After a day of progress, which saw firefighters complete lines around 45 percent of the blaze, the area is under a Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service for conditions that could drive the blaze. The Weather Service predicts that temperatures will hit the 90s amid gusty winds and low humidity,.
…Early Sunday, Colorado Springs Utilities will hold a press conference to detail their plans in the area hit by the fire.
What could be the most emotion-packed event of the day will come at 9:30 a.m. at the Norris Penrose Events Center. “Church at The Ranch”, is an event that was a Sunday ritual at Flying W Ranch, which was destroyed in Tuesday’s firestorm.
Worshipers will also gather at churches throughout the former evacuation zones to mourn what was lost and celebrate what was saved.
On the fire lines, 1,534 firefighters and a mind-blowing array of trucks, bulldozers and aircraft will work to reinforce lines around the blaze.
Fire officials warn that the plumes of smoke from the fire won’t end anytime soon.
“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation & be constant in prayer.” — Romans 12:12.
Update: A Red Flag Warning issued today…”explosive fire growth potential”…
— City of Colo Springs (@springsgov) July 1, 2012
URGENT – FIRE WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PUEBLO CO
332 AM MDT SUN JUL 1 2012
…A RED FLAG WARNING HAS BEEN ISSUED FOR LOW HUMIDITIES…GUSTY
WINDS…HIGH HAINES INDICES AND DRY FUELS…FROM 1200 UNTIL
2100 MDT TODAY FOR FIRE WEATHER ZONES 221 AND 226 THROUGH 237…
WHICH INCLUDES EL PASO COUNTY…TELLER COUNTY AND ALL OF THE
SOUTHEAST COLORADO PLAINS…
TELLER COUNTY/RAMPART RANGE-NORTHERN EL PASO COUNTY-
SOUTHERN EL PASO COUNTY-PUEBLO COUNTY-HUERFANO COUNTY-
WESTERN LAS ANIMAS COUNTY-CROWLEY COUNTY-OTERO COUNTY-
EASTERN LAS ANIMAS COUNTY-KIOWA COUNTY-BENT COUNTY-PROWERS COUNTY-
332 AM MDT SUN JUL 1 2012
…RED FLAG WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM NOON TODAY TO 9 PM MDT
THIS EVENING FOR LOW HUMIDITIES…GUSTY WINDS…HIGH HAINES
INDICES AND DRY FUELS FOR FIRE WEATHER ZONES 226…227…228…
229…230…231…232 AND 233…
* AFFECTED AREA…FIRE WEATHER ZONES 221…226…227…228…
229…230…231…232…233…234…235…236 AND 237.
* WINDS…SOUTHEAST 10 TO 20 MPH WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 MPH.
* TIMING…NOON UNTIL 9 PM MDT.
* RELATIVE HUMIDITY…8 TO 15 PERCENT.
* LIGHTNING…ISOLATED AFTERNOON AND EVENING THUNDERSTORMS
PRODUCING CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING STRIKES WITH ERRATIC WIND
GUSTS OVER 50 MPH ARE POSSIBLE.
* IMPACTS…RAPID RATES OF FIRE GROWTH AND SPREAD WILL BE
POSSIBLE WITH ANY FIRES.
A RED FLAG WARNING MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS
ARE EITHER OCCURRING NOW…OR WILL SHORTLY. A COMBINATION OF
GUSTY WINDS…LOW HUMIDITIES…HIGH HAINES INDICES…RECORD HEAT
AND VERY DRY FUELS WILL CREATE EXPLOSIVE FIRE GROWTH POTENTIAL.
What was Obama doing on his flight back from Colorado Springs wildfire sightseeing trip?; Update: The White House photo-op gallery
Fund-raising, of course.
On Air Force One.
“The majority on this call maxed out to my campaign last time. I really need you to do the same this time,” the president said in a highly unusual (and presumably legal) fundraising pitch from Air Force One on his way back to Washington from Colorado Springs, where he’d been assessing the terrible damage caused by uncontained wildfires. A special phone on the government aircraft is dedicated to political calls that are paid for by the campaign.
“I’m asking you to meet or exceed what you did in 2008,” the presidential pitchman continued, speaking to donors who were invited to dial in based on their contributions during the last election. “Because we’re going to have to deal with these super PACs in a serious way. And if we don’t, frankly I think the political [scene] is going to be changed permanently. Because the special interests that are financing my opponent’s campaign are just going to consolidate themselves. They’re gonna run Congress and the White House.”
The president’s 18-minute pleading—a recording of which was provided to The Daily Beast by an Obama contributor—hardly sounded like a man doing a victory lap after Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding Obamacare, as the Affordable Care Act has come to be known. Or, for that matter, like a candidate who has been beating his Republican opponent in recent polls of key battleground states.
Rather, Obama sounded like a dog-tired idealist forced to grapple painfully with hard reality. “In 2008 everything was new and exciting about our campaign,” Obama said. “And now I’m the incumbent president. I’ve got gray hair. People have seen disappointment because folks had a vision of change happening immediately. And it turns out change is hard, especially when you’ve got an obstructionist Republican Congress.”
And…the money-grubbing continues on Twitter:
President Obama on tonight’s fundraising deadline: “This is important.” Pitch in $3 before midnight: OFA.BO/NNZpqq
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) July 1, 2012
The White House photo-op gallery of President Obama’s visit is up. Funny, they forgot to include any of the Air Force One money-grubbing scenes.
Slide show from the President’s visit to Colorado Springs to view fire damage: 1.usa.gov/QDc1pr
— petesouza (@petesouza) June 30, 2012
Exclusive: When did the Waldo Canyon Fire start, and when did the feds know it?; Update: Confirmed – Friday smoke investigation
As you know, my family and I were evacuated Saturday afternoon on June 23 along with 11,000 other West side/Manitou Springs residents when the Waldo Canyon Fire erupted. According to the Colorado Springs fire public information unit and the city emergency operations center, local phone calls about the emerging blaze first came in around Saturday noon on June 23.
But what did the federal government officials know and when did they know it?
Waldo Canyon is located in the Pike National Forest.
According to a source, a group that included at least one federal firefighter was sent to look for fire on Friday night, not Saturday afternoon. The source added:
“Due to what I believe to be incompetence on the part of those managing the initial response to this incident, the Waldo Canyon fire was not located in a timely manner. I believe the ensuing tragedy that is now unfolding could have easily been prevented and thus view the actions of certain individuals as inexcusable.”
This morning, I talked to an official at the Colorado Springs fire public information unit who said that both her unit and the city emergency operations center were not aware of any fire search-related activity on Friday. I asked someone at the Joint Incident Command for their official timeline of when the fire began. They said Saturday, June 23.
Interestingly, federal fire investigators are seeking information from anyone who was in the Waldon Canyon or nearby Pyramid Mountain area on…Friday 6/22 or Saturday 6/23.
Wildland fire investigators are asking for the public’s help to solve the Waldo Canyon fire
Investigators are seeking the public’s help for possible leads to the exact cause of the Waldo Canyon Fire. U.S. Forest Service Investigators are looking for people who were in the Waldo Canyon area at or around time of ignition and may have seen something that will help the investigators. If you were in the Waldo Canyon or Pyramid Mountain area on Friday 6/22 or Saturday 6/23 please call 719-477-4205 and leave your name, contact number and someone will return your call. Investigators are hoping that with the public’s help, they can determine the cause of the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Waldo Canyon Fire Update
Rocky Basin 2 Incident Management Team
Incident Commander: Rich Harvey
For Immediate Release: date, time
Public Information: (719) 629-7322
Email for Media: firstname.lastname@example.org
(email address for media use only please – give public phone number to use for information)
Phone for Media: (720) 202-8521
(Joint Information Center Open Daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.)
With so many national media reporters swarming our city and state to cover President Obama’s visit, it would be helpful if someone else would ask these questions.
-I am told the question about a Friday night fire search was raised at an early local press briefing, but not answered.
-I have contacted the feds for comment/info. Will update if they respond.
-A local notes that there was a “small campfire” one valley over from Waldo Canyon, but that it was “unrelated.” Not sure how he knows that.
Update: After my blog post was published, the El Paso County Sheriff released this statement confirming my tipster’s information…
During the course of the Waldo Canyon Fire, there have been inquiries concerning smoke investigations in the Waldo Canyon area on Friday, June 22, 2012, one day prior to the start of the Waldo Canyon Fire.
On Friday, June 22, 2012, at approximately 7:49 p.m., a resident in the Crystal Park area spoke with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (EPSO) and reported seeing smoke three to five miles from their residence. The smoke was described as being in the mountains north of Cave of the Winds.
The EPSO Communications Center dispatched fire resources from several agencies to the incident to conduct a smoke investigation in Waldo Canyon. Once on scene, those agencies worked together, searched the area and were unable to locate smoke that night. However, since the investigation was challenged by the hours of darkness, it was determined that fire resources would return in the morning to follow up; this is a practice common to smoke investigations which are hampered by low light conditions.
Fire resources did return the morning of Saturday, June 23, 2012, to conduct follow up. They were still in the area when the calls rang into dispatch centers announcing the visible smoke and fire which is now known as the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Update 7/2: The latest on the investigation…
The investigation into what caused Colorado’s most destructive wildfire continues as authorities examine video.
The Waldo Canyon Fire was human caused on June 23. Whether it was accidental, negligence or a deliberate act has yet to be determined.
The fire destroyed 346 homes, burned 17,659 acres and was 45 percent contained Sunday morning.
A cycling group from Carmichael Racing in Colorado Springs was nearby when the fire began. They were told to get out and get out fast…
…he video she took of the fire as the group made their way down the mountain is being examined by investigators. Some of the clues indicate the fire is burning in a remote area with some trails. There was no lightning in the area at the time.
“When we were up in the area it was a beautiful blue day. We were stopped there on our way to Rampart Reservoir and stopped and took pictures,” said Rynbrandt.
Because of that investigators believe the fire was not caused by an act of nature but rather by humans. How and why remain a mystery.
“The U.S. Forest Service has brought in a cause and origin specialist,” said El Paso County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Jeff Kramer.
Note: My column below deals with wildfire politics in advance of President Obama’s visit. But as you all know, this is also personal. My family and I are approaching a full week as Waldo Canyon Fire evacuees. As readers of this blog (archive here) and my Twitter feed have been reading, we were forced to leave our home Saturday afternoon. Some 32,000 were displaced by mid-week. Nearly 350 saw their homes burned to the ground, including many belonging to our friends and acquaintances. (Must-see before and after pics.) Last night, officials allowed many residents to return to their neighborhoods, but ours remains under mandatory evacuation. While light rain provided a little relief yesterday, the blaze is still burning. The night ended on a tragic note with officials revealing that a body had been discovered in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood at one of the scorched homes. Several others are still missing. Also last night: A new fire broke out near Grand Junction — the Pine Ridge Fire — that has already consumed 10,000 acres and closed I-70.
Democrats’ New Motto: Never Let a Wildfire Go to Waste
by Michelle Malkin
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Did you know that President Obama has been incommunicado with Colorado’s governor for more than two weeks as the nation’s worst wildfires rage across the state? Maybe he thought we were all “doing fine.” After an embarrassing Beltway press briefing revelation about our out-of-touch White House, the administration finally decided to divert the campaigner in chief from his nationwide fundraising frenzy for a quick look-see at our devastated city on Friday. It’s “leadership from behind” you can count on.
On Wednesday, press secretary Jay Carney acknowledged that Obama hadn’t talked to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in 15 days. Holy smokes. The High Park fire, which has consumed nearly 90,000 acres and claimed nearly 257 homes west of Fort Collins, ignited on June 9 and is still active. During a campaign swing just last week, first lady Michelle Obama made a brief mention of the High Park fire before launching into her standard GOP-bashing stump speeches.
On June 23, the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs erupted. An estimated 19,000 acres and nearly 350 homes burned down to the ground on Tuesday. More than 32,000 have been displaced so far. My family was forced to abandon our home on Saturday, and our neighborhood remains in a mandatory evacuation zone. On June 27, Boulder’s Flagstaff fire broke out and has so far blazed through 300 acres. While he made no public statements prior to the announcement of his visit, an irritated Carney told reporters on Wednesday that Obama was being “updated regularly” on the wildfires in Colorado and across the West. He then rushed out a face-saving press release heralding the president’s hasty phone call that afternoon to Hickenlooper and Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, in which he “expressed his concern about the extent of damage to homes in the Colorado Springs area, and informed both the governor and the mayor that he plans to travel to the area Friday to view the damage and thank the responders bravely battling the fire.”
As Obama sightsees overhead in this key swing state and surrounds himself with first responders for campaign-ready photo-ops, his supporters on the ground are busy spewing excuses, attacks and death wishes on their political opponents. I know. I’ve received countless numbers of them hoping that firefighters let my “mansion” burn down and gloating that God or karma is punishing Colorado’s conservative population. Liberals took to Twitter to bash local GOP officials and me as “fire retardants” who should be dropped over the blaze. And jokes about ">Colorado social conservatives like this proliferated: “If this Colorado fire takes out the Focus on the Family campus, then God really exists.”
The sniping isn’t limited to social media. Obama strategist Rahm Emanuel said in 2008: “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” On cue, Hickenlooper mocked limited-government watchdogs who questioned the Obama administration’s decision to cancel a key aerial tanker contract last summer. (It was the topic of my June 20 column last week, “How Obama Bureaucrats Fueled Western Wildfires.”) The Denver Post reported Wednesday: “Asked about criticism from the right over the Obama administration’s canceling of the contract, Hickenlooper offered an uncharacteristically strong defense of the president. ‘Were these the same conservatives that were so worried about the Obama administration spending too much money, or were these different conservatives?’ Hickenlooper said. ‘Quite honestly, in a situation like this where over 30,000 people have been evacuated, I don’t think that (criticism of Obama) is appropriate,’ the governor said. ‘We should be focusing our support on them and on the people out there risking their lives to fight these fires.’”
Spare us the sanctimony, and lay off the firefighter human shield strategy. The conservatives in Congress and libertarians at MonkeyWrenchingAmerica.com and elsewhere on the right who called attention to the U.S. Forest Service’s aging, neglected and undercapitalized aerial tanker fleet are the same conservatives who have doggedly called attention to the Obama administration’s serial squandering of taxpayer dollars on nonessential, ineffective, crony-driven spending. We are the conservatives worried about dumping billions of dollars into bankrupt federal green boondoggles like Solyndra, Abound Solar, Beacon Power, Ener1 and LightSquared at the expense of fundamental services — like fighting fires.
It is entirely appropriate and possible to question this administration’s policy decisions while supporting frontline emergency personnel at the same time. And it is entirely logical and rational to express gratitude for firefighters and police officers — while working to ensure the long-term financial viability of their departments through tough but necessary budget and public employee union reforms. But don’t look to Obama to put out the flames of politically expedient and inflammatory rhetoric. He may be slow on the uptake to respond to national crises, but when it comes to exploiting them, he’s an industrial-grade accelerant.
More on the aerial tanker issue from Heritage’s Michael Sandoval.
Day 5 of Waldo Canyon Fire evacuation: Blaze engulfs homes/historic ranch; 32k total evacuated; more dangerous winds, heat ahead; Day 6: Surviving
Update: June 28 – It’s Day 6 of life as evacuees for the Malkins. We’re all together and safe. Our house remains in one of the most threatened areas of the city, but it is still standing for now. As we keep reminding the kids since we were displaced on Saturday, a house is not a home. We’re doing our best to make a home for them wherever we stay as we live day to day. Sorry if I haven’t returned your e-mails or calls. Doug is covering all the big news of the day for you here at michellemalkin.com and the Twitchy team continues to keep you ahead of the curve on all the Twitter breaking news and news that should be news. I continue to post fire-related links and updates on my Twitter feed here. Thanks for all your kind words, well wishes, and offers of shelter! Please pray for Colorado, and especially the firefighters, pilots, emergency personnel, and support staff on the front lines battling the Waldo Canyon fire and all the other fires raging across the West.
Twitter panorama photo from last night via @megzenger
Via Matt Meister, StormTracker 13, from the front lines 2:15am MT Wednesday morning in Mountain Shadows
Screenshot last night of home burning via KKTV11news
Twitter photo yesterday via @dbfarmer
Twitter photo yesterday afternoon via @RylieLarimer
Yesterday was the most horrific day since the Waldo Canyon Fire outbreak forced thousands of us out of our homes. My family is on Day 5. As I first told you over the weekend, our neighborhood is and remains on mandatory evacuation. Thanks to a compassionate CSPD officer, we were finally able to get the kids’ parakeets out of the house (it’s standing for now). Unfortunately, one of the birds died of smoke inhalation Tuesday afternoon. The kids are crushed. But we are thankful to be alive and grateful for the extraordinary efforts of first responders, police, fire, military, non-profits, individual volunteers, private philanthropists, and corporate/civic support.
There are now some 32,000 other evacuees throughout Colorado Springs.
An estimated 6,200 acres have burned. [UPDATE 8:15am MT - Now estimated at 15,000+ acres] The first structure loss took place yesterday afternoon as winds swept the blaze suddenly through the Mountain Shadows area. The historic Flying W Ranch burned to the ground, as did many homes. Listening to the scanner traffic overnight, fire/emergency personnel from all over Colorado were working hard to put out brush fires and embers; salvage burning homes; tend to residents suffering from fire-related respiratory and heart problems; and hold the lines.
I communicated with KKTV meteorologist Brian Bledsoe last night on Twitter; he is very concerned that thunderstorms predicted for Wednesday afternoon will cause more dangerous outflow winds and lightning than wetting rain. These are the kinds of conditions that led to the swift and terrible perimeter-jumping sweep Tuesday afternoon that consumed countless homes and prompted the evacuation of an additional 7,000 residents.
The uplifting news: So, so many have stepped up to the plate to help. The lead story right now isn’t about what government is doing. It’s about what individuals, churches, companies, and community groups/organizations — the countless, voluntary associations and “little platoons” of civil society that Edmund Burke praised — are doing.
Just a few examples:
*On Craigslist, scores of residents are offering their homes/space to evacuees.
*The Antlers’ Hotel opened its ballroom to scores of evacuees Tuesday night.
*The Springs Church was a critical evacuation staging area for Mountain Shadows on Tuesday afternoon. The Mountain Springs Church welcomed 250 Summit camper evacuees earlier in the week.
*The El Pomar Foundation has made more than $200,000 in emergency grants to assist fire victims.
*The local Taco Bell franchises donated 1,000 burritos to feed firefighters.
*Wal-Mart has donated several truckloads of water and ice for rescue workers, as well as fans to the Humane Society to keep evacuated pets cool.
*Care and Share, Red Cross, and United Way are at or in excess capacity for volunteer staffing.
Best ways to help? Visit Help Colorado Now.
We are not alone. As I noted in my column last week — before it became personal — wildfires have been raging across the West all summer. And the fire season is just getting started.
The latest outside Colorado:
Brutal wildfires across the West have put tourist destinations from Montana to New Mexico in danger just at the height of midsummer family road-trip season, putting cherished Western landscapes at risk along with hordes of vacationers.
…In central Utah, a wildfire in an area dotted with vacation cabins was burning an estimated 39 square miles and threatening about 300 homes. Firefighters had that blaze at 10 percent containment Monday. The Sanpete County Sheriff’s office has said that as many as 30 structures may have been lost.
And in New Mexico, firefighters Monday were mopping up a small wildfire that threatened one of that state’s top tourist attractions, El Santuario de Chimayo, a 19th century church north of Santa Fe. The church draws some 300,000 visitors a year and appeared to be out of danger Monday.
Like so many others in our situation, we are counting our blessings and still taking things one day, one hour, one minute at a time.
We were told last night that there might not be containment of the Waldo Canyon Fire until July 16. Firefighters and first responders are working tirelessly.
Still no word on when or if we’ll get back into our home. More than 5,100 acres have burned. Three of four C-130s will be used today to fight the blaze.
We’re living out of bags and living day to day. The kids are troopers. So glad for friends, family, and this amazing community. The volunteerism and corporate/civic/private philanthropic generosity in Colorado Springs are overwhelming.
I’ll file my regular syndicated columns for Wednesday and Friday. Follow my Twitter feed for updates. Tune it to Twitchy for 24/7 news, entertainment, and political coverage. Thanks to Doug Powers for continuing to hold down the fort here.
I took this photo of the Waldo Canyon Fire with my iPhone from the Chapel Hills Mall yesterday.
Our family is among the 11,000 residents of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs who have been evacuated in the wake of the Waldo Canyon Fire. We’re homeless, but safe for now — though the kids are devastated we couldn’t get their parakeets, Keets and Tweety, out of the house before security/emergency personnel cleared out our neighborhood.
We are so thankful for our many friends here and especially the heroic firefighters, police, and disaster relief officials and volunteers who have worked tirelessly to contain the fire and protect our homes.
Ways to help: Here.
Via Twitchy: How social media has played a critical role in organizing/reporting on the wildfires.
Per the latest press briefing, the fire is spreading in three directions – NE, SW, and NW. It’s a record-setting day of heat. Four C-130s are on the way to help tomorrow.
My online access will be intermittent, but check in 24/7 with the team at Twitchy for all the news you need to know and here at michellemalkin.com, where Doug Powers will keep you informed and entertained as always.
Keeping calm and trying to carry on!
Pics I took at sunset from our hotel room…
As of 9:30pm Mountain, some 3,600 acres have been destroyed. 6,000 people (including us) are still banned from returning home. Flare-ups are erupting overnight. The smoke is overwhelming.
It’s hard to breathe, in more ways than one…