Still Waters: Thanks to our heroes with hoses

Someone said if the saying is true that the spring winds will blow in the San Luis Valley until the snow is off the mountains, there must be at least some snow still left up there. We haven’t had much snow, but we certainly have had the winds.

I can’t remember a day quite as windy as Tuesday although I’m sure we’ve had many. It seemed like all the forces of nature were unleashed from early morning until well into the evening. In the morning even before I left the house I could taste the dust through the closed windows as the wind roared just outside.

I hated to go out in it and was glad when I could secure myself in the water district’s building for their quarterly meeting on Tuesday. Everyone joked about the wind blowing them in, and for once in their lives I think the folliclely challenged folks could be envied for not needing a comb.

I figured the Flying Nun would not have stood a chance on a day like Tuesday. A tip of her habit and she would have been close enough to talk to the angels directly. Not to mention Dorothy and her little dog too who could have made a direct nonstop flight from Kansas to LA in time for brunch.

Most of us just took the day in stride, or at least as much of a stride as we could while trying just to stay upright. We lost some shingles off our roofs, a few trees blew down, and some fences were in need of repair at the end of the day.

For our local firefighters, though, the day brought an absolute nightmare. These volunteers routinely leave suppers, warm beds and their favorite TV programs at all ours of the days and nights to respond to calls of everything from brush on fire to structures in full blaze. Tuesday they had it all, bless their hearts. A brush fire that had started on Monday with a spark from a welder who was working at a well drilling site came alive again with demonic fury on Tuesday. Between the dust in the wind and the smoke from the fire no one could even see the mountains or the sky for most of the day.

As our dedicated firefighters were hitting the line with the brush fire that had revived from the day before, they had to deal with not one but two structure fires, both of which left the residences uninhabitable and one of which ultimately resulted in a charge of arson and an arrest.

Our firefighters were not alone, though. As Alamosa needed assistance, volunteer firefighters from other parts of our wonderful valley started coming in to their aid. They came from all directions to help with the firefight. And when one of their departments had its own call to meet, others went to their rescue as well.

These selfless folks reminded us once again of how people here pull together against a common threat. We are so blessed to have these ladies and gents who are willing to leave their jobs and families, their suppers and pillows to keep the rest of us safe.

At one point in the day a part of our town was under evacuation orders because of the brush fire, and even more selfless folks sprang into action to keep residents informed and safe. The city offered its recreation center for evacuees, and the school kept children safe there since they could not be bused after school to the mobile home court that was under evacuation orders.

Fortunately the evacuation orders could be lifted before evening. Also fortunately, and providentially given the extreme conditions they were battling, no firefighter was injured. The chief said even the livestock were reportedly rescued from the advancing brush fire.

The community, too, responded by bringing the firefighters drinks and food.

The wind may have died down the following day, but the firefighters’ jobs were not finished as they continued to monitor hot spots and respond to other calls both here and in other parts of the Valley.

We who live here and are kept safe by your tireless and selfless efforts cannot thank you guys and gals enough.

On these crazy windy, smoke-filled days—and every other day—you are our heroes.