|More than 15,000 acres have been razed in the Black Forest Fire since it began around noon Tuesday, June 11. (HCJB Global photo by Harold Goerzen.)|
Several staff members were on pre-evacuation status or have been evacuated from their homes, including receptionist Daunice Winters and her husband, Bob, who learned last Wednesday that their home was destroyed in the blaze. The Black Forest Fire flared up around noon Tuesday and quickly spread eastward amid hot, windy, dry conditions.
“Daunice just called and told me that they lost everything in the fire on Tuesday,” said Communications Director Steve Johnson in an email message last Wednesday afternoon. “They were able to get a few possessions out, but the house was destroyed. They are now staying with family. She said they were going to Walmart to get some clothes.”
|A firefighter battles a blaze in a garage in Black Forest on Table Rock Road. A total of 379 homes were confirmed destroyed as of Thursday, June 13. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette.)|
“We are praying for the best outcome for our staff and families of our staff whose homes have been affected by the Black Forest Fire and greatly appreciate the efforts of those working towards containment,” added Lauri Dennis, director of human resources. “We will continue praying for everyone affected by this fire and the others burning in Colorado. Thank you for your prayers and support.”
Black Forest is an expansive, heavily wooded area in El Paso County northeast of Colorado Springs. It is home to more than 13,000 people, most living on scenic, rural acreages. Shifting winds are now threatening homes in neighboring counties and the city itself.
|Aerial view of the fire that is completely uncontained. (Photo by Mark Reis, The Gazette.)|
Regarding reports of injuries or deaths, Maketa announced that two residents had died in the blaze as they prepared to evacuate. There were no other reports of injuries.
The conflagration is reminiscent of last year’s Waldo Canyon fire northwest of the HCJB Global’s headquarters, forcing at least three staff members to evacuate their homes for up to two weeks. None of their homes were destroyed, only suffering minor smoke damage.
The Waldo Canyon Fire began on June 23, 2012, but it didn’t affect populated areas until three days later when 65-mph winds spread the flames down the lower flanks of Pikes Peak and into the Mountain Shadows neighborhood. It burned more than 18,000 acres, destroyed 347 homes and resulted in two fatalities. Investigators determined that the fire was human caused, but it’s unclear whether it was an accident or arson. No suspects have been arrested.
“We were so thankful a year ago, when we saw the fire come down the mountainside, that the Lord protected our mission facilities and the homes of our staff,” added HCJB Global President Wayne Pederson. “This latest fire is a constant reminder that we have to depend on the Lord’s protection daily.”
Sources: HCJB Global, The Colorado Springs Gazette
A number of our staff have been impacted, including one family that lost virtually everything they own. Yet we know that "even the wind and waves obey Him." Please pray for HCJB Global staff and others affected by the widlfires in Colorado.