We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We couldn’t last year after the most damaging fire in Colorado history, and we can’t now after the same fate struck El Paso County again.
We have no option to wallow in anguish, wondering what will happen next. Instead, 509 families in our midst have to move on, just as 347 families did last summer. We know that 70 or more businesses will suffer directly from the fire’s aftermath, and we understand that it will take generations — not just years or decades — for the forest to recover.
But if anyone is hoping that the rest of our everyday lives might calm down for a while, and give the region a chance to regroup in the weeks and months ahead, that appears too much to ask.
Even before the Black Forest fire erupted last week with such sudden ferocity, the mood around us was turning darker by the week.
Politically, we’re seeing more rounds of negative headlines and stories about the emotionally charged recall effort against state Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs. Granted, the vote would take place only inside Senate District 11, which spreads from Manitou Springs and Old Colorado City through the central and east/southeast portions of Colorado Springs. But if it happens, and the recall campaign continues into August or September, we can expect a lot of divisive nastiness blanketing the area.
Then we have the rising discord surrounding the Colorado Springs City Council’s decision whether to allow the sale of recreational marijuana inside the city. That debate will peak with a Council public forum on June 27, with the elected leaders taking action sometime thereafter. Already, the pressure from both sides is enormous, further polarizing the community.
Meanwhile, we’re on the verge of learning whether the Army will add or subtract from its local presence as a result of budget cuts and reshuffling major units, which could mean 3,000 more or 8,000 fewer troops. We can only hope that news is good, but it’s not a sure thing by any means, even in light of the superlative military help in fighting the Black Forest fire.
Granted, we’ll have a lot to enjoy with our usual array of midyear events and celebrations. But there’s simply no way the area can avoid dealing with more angst and frayed nerves during the heat of this summer — even if we’re lucky enough to avoid any more major fires.
So brace yourself for a few months of a wild rollercoaster ride. And unlike at Denver’s Elitch Gardens, this one won’t be such an enjoyable thrill.