Never have so many people wished so fervently for a snowstorm. Forest fires were ravaging northern Colorado on Friday. Thousands had been evacuated from their homes in Grand Lake, Granby, Estes Park, and surrounding areas. Exhausted firefighters kept fighting, doing everything in their power to stop fires that seemingly wouldn’t be stopped. Even as smoke and clouds prevented aerial assaults, the men and women on the ground fought on.
Hurry, snowstorm. Hurry.
And finally, Saturday afternoon, the flakes began to fall. Sparsely at first. Scarcely distinguishable from the falling ash. Evacuees and the entire state went to bed that night, full of both dread and hope.
Then Sunday dawned, gorgeous and white. Heavy snow kept falling throughout the day and people rejoiced. Firefighters. Evacuees. Property owners. Citizens across the state. You could almost hear the sighs of relief, the prayers of gratitude.
And the voracious fires lay down.
No, they haven’t been extinguished. They merely slumber beneath a blanket of cold, wet snow. Waiting. Waiting until the sun and warmth and drought reassert themselves in a few days. Meanwhile, firefighters take a deep breath or two before continuing their work.
The fires will rise again, but weaker this time. And there is renewed conviction that they will be defeated — sooner rather than later.