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Friday, November 6, 2020

Evacuation - Estes Park - a personal experience

On October 22, 2020 my town was evacuated from a flare up fire due to the East Troublesome Fire on the OTHER side of the Divide in Grand County. The fire came down into Rocky Mountain National Park and the entire town of Estes Park was evacuated.

I was able to evacuate a few things - clothes and that, but not really anything more. I was to worried about older neighbors and their pets, helping the hospital where I work and that. I really was not prepared for the events that happened. It wasn't until I returned home that I found this checklist and now keep it on my fridge. 

I was lucky that when the flood of 2013 happened, while I slept a couple nights where I worked at the time, in the office, I did not have to leave my house for more than two days and I was still in my town. 

With this fire I had to leave town. I was so surprised at the outpouring of help I received from my friend Morgan Haberman who got me a hotel for 2 nights out of her own pocket, to all of the people that sent me funds via paypal or gift certificates for food, gas, etc. To my friend Joann Thomas who put me up in her house in Fort Collins for several days and my coworker Meagan who put me up in her house in Estes for a few days. 

Sky at 2 PM
Sky at 2 PM

It's a terrifying experience and I am not a person easily scared by nature having spent most of my childhood in Kansas with Tornadoes. 

I think the worst part is the not KNOWING from day to day if the fire will erupt and become worse, where will the money come from, am I being a burden to my friends and family, will I lose everything I own, will insurance cover it, and so many other questions and concerns. 

I want to thank all of the people that have helped me - if I have missed your name, please know that I didn't mean too. There are no words to describe what you all mean to me:

My mom - for raising such a strong girl and never letting me know how scared you were that your daughter is a crazy mountain girl and if at all possible would have been more in the thick of things that I already was. I LOVE YOU. 

Morgan Haberman - for her initial post to let people know about my situation, for talking me out of the trees multiple times and for the hotel room to land those first few nights.

Fabian Rodriguez - for putting out the word for me  

Jason Busey - my brother from another mother - for checking on me and giving me pep talks. 

Joann Thomas - for letting me stay in her home for several days and making me feel welcome. 

Heather Roell - for the funds you sent 

Jennifer Buxton - for the funds you sent

Teresa Buzell - for the funds you sent

Natalie Graham - for the funds you sent

Meghan Namastee - for the funds you sent

Carra McClelland - for the funds you sent and the Red Lobster gift card 

Kay Lonning - for the funds you sent

Randa Garrett - for the funds you sent

Nancy Dement - for the funds you sent

Sarah Rose - for the funds you sent   

My landlords - for being such wonderful and caring people - checking on me while I was evacuated and just being awesome

For my neighbor Renne for being so wonderful and caring and checking on me as well

Meagan Lopez for letting me stay in her home in Estes so I could get to work easier when the hospital opened back up

And for anyone else that I have forgotten. 

As of 10/27/2020 - I am still on Mandatory evacuation. The hospital is opening the on the 28th and I am returning to grab some items that I left behind that are important and then nap at a friend's house then work. 

It is so frustrating not to be able to return home. And to have to worry about my job and my home. I can't imagine what it's like to leave everything to come to another country and be put in a cage. I can not imagine the stress involved. 

As of 10/28/2020 - my home went into Voluntary evac but had to be able to leave within to 1/2 hour. I stayed at a friend's place on the other side of town until 11/2/2020 because it was easier to sleep at a place where if I was sleeping during the day I didn't have to worry about burning up because I slept through the alerts. 

On 11/2/2020 - this was the best news I could have received. I have been home since Monday the 2nd and I do have to say it is so great to be in my town and in my own home. THANK YOU to all the fire fighters and support staff that got us through all of this. 

LETA text

I am glad for this experience and hope I never have to repeat it. I feel for the families that lost their homes and possessions, as well as having to spend weeks displaced. I hope that their lives can return to them soon. 

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