First, I heartfully thank the courageous firemen and emergency personnel who faced extreme danger while confronting the massive Spring Fire that has touched, and indeed devastated the lives of so many. I am also thankful that not one of those valiant warriors lost their life or suffered serious injury in the course of their efforts, as well as property owners, many of whom have seen their homes destroyed.
What confuses me is the media statement, “No lives were lost.” The way I see it, countless lives were lost, entire forest communities that include millions of trees, shrubs and alpine flowers as well as families that include mammals such as mountain lions, bears with cubs, herds of deer with their recently born fawns, elk just putting on their fresh velvet antlers, rabbits that found nowhere to hide, pronghorn racing before the flames, bighorn sheep trapped in canyons, coyotes, red and grey fox, beavers, voles, muskrats, marmots, mice, bobcats, recently reintroduced lynx, also gophers, snowshoe hares, marmots, porcupines, raccoons, squirrels, and so on and on.
Then as creeks boiled and evaporated, the lives of Cutthroat Trout, Rio Grande Sucker, Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout and Chub were lost while snakes, gart, lizards, skinks, turtles, salamanders, frogs and toads tried to run for their lives.
Billions of flying and crawling insects like bumblebees, butterflies, harvester ants, beetles disappeared in a puff of smoke.
How many domestic pets lost their lives? Dogs, cats, chickens . . . I don’t know.
Maybe you are thinking, “Who cares? It’s human lives that matter.”
I disagree. I believe all lives matter.
Early on, the fire raged within three miles of my home in the Sangre de Cristos. I watched in horror as flames devoured the mountains, cringed when I saw each new tower of smoke explode, stained a greasy black, insinuating that yet another human structure was burning. My heart sorrowed (and still does) for my neighbors, all my neighbors, human, mammal, bug and tree.
I am not trying to introduce another note of sadness into an already desperate situation, just thinking that the life we share with so many species on this planet is extremely fragile. It is fragile for all beings.
Thank you once again from the bottom of my heart for the heroic actions of the firefighters. Because of their efforts I, and many others, still have a home. Now comes the monumental task of cleaning up, of offering aid to our human neighbors as well as the many species that have suffered, that have survived. Because, after all is said and done, we are all in this together.