by Kelly Flynn from Maggie Sefton's New York Times
Bestselling Knitting Mystery series, CAST ON, KILL OFF,
10th in the series, June 2012
It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring. . .well, I don't know about an old man and his snoring, but the rest of us here in Northern Colorado are HAPPY that it's raining and pouring. As a lot of you who follow the news know, this Summer has brought the worst wildfire season Colorado has seen in many years. Brutally hot temperatures that were SO unusual and went on for days started in late May and went all through June. That, coupled with La Nina stealing our normally snowy and rainy Spring, left our state bone dry and in a deep drought. With the help of the nasty pine bark beetle-killed trees, our forests turned into kindling, ready to burn.
Of course, thunderstorms rumble across Colorado all Spring, Summer and Early Fall bringing thunder and lightning. Lots of lightning strikes. Hundreds of strikes every season. The most common cause of all of Colorado's wildfires is lightning. And in the first week of June, a strike ignited the worst wildfire Northern Colorado had ever seen. Our beloved canyons were at risk as forests ignited. Dry tinder waiting to blaze. Only with the help of hundreds (nearly 2000) were we able to gain control of the High Park Wildfire. It's now 100% contained. Thankfully, firefighters had gotten ahead of it in time to race south to fight the even worse Waldo Canyon Wildfire right on the edge of Colorado Springs, the second largest city in Colorado.
Last Thursday, our yearly Monsoon Season or "rainy season" started, and we are all breathing a sigh of relief. Basically, our monsoon season is caused by shifting wind patterns that bring in more moisture and rain from the Gulf of Mexico (which came from the Pacific Ocean). It affects all of the states in the Southwest and usually comes in mid-July but can appear anytime between then and the end of August.
So, our baseball and softball season has been put on hold for the next several days until the middle of this week, but we're not complaining. We need this rain, even though it brings with it problems for the burned areas in our canyons. The wildfire "glazed" the ground after it burned the underbrush which means rain will run right off and cascade down the mountainside. It can also bring dirt and rocks with it. That creates totally different hazards. However, we're still glad for the monsoon season and the much cooler temperatures that we're all enjoying right now. Mid-70s are much nicer than upper 90s.