Fire and Program UpdatesPosted by Andy
Good morning from Highlands, our camp away from camp. We are off to a great morning with the confirmation intensive program. With over 100 campers, guests, and staff at camp–and two backpacking groups in Rocky Mountain National Park–we are excited for a great, full, energetic, and Spirit-filled week.
Throughout this week, I will be sharing photos and videos of the confirmation intensive program, where the campers get to LIVE the story. This year is the early church, which means Pentecost is about to take over Highlands!
Over the weekend, the High Park fire was driven by wind and hot dry conditions to expand substantially on the north side. The fire currently stands at over 83,000 acres, is 45% contained, and is officially the second largest fire in Colorado’s history. With more resources pouring in–including over 2,000 personnel, 25 aircraft, and almost 200 engines and water tankers–fire fighters continue to work aggressively on the fire. While they have made progress containing the fire on the north side, word this morning is that it is actively burning on the southwest corner.
Last night there were storms throughout much of Northern Colorado that brought lightning and some light rain. Unfortunately the rain was not active in the fire area and lightning started another fire in north Larimer County. Crews are working quickly to contain that fire. At the moment, there are at least 8 fires actively burning in Colorado.
What does all that means? The High Park fire remains active and still has a ways to go before it is under control. Many of the places that are currently burning have a high percentage of dead beetle kill trees and are in steep and rocky areas. While we trust those who are working so hard to contain the fire, we also know there is a lot of work to be done.
As for Sky Ranch, we remain confident that our property and facilities is not in any immediate danger. The fire remains a good 6-8 miles away from the property. That said, both roads into camp (Pingree Park Rd and Buckhorn Rd) are still being used as containment lines and have active fires (either controlled backburns or less controlled burning) along the route into camp. Additionally, the site we planned to use for rock climbing this summer is a short distance from an active area of the fire. In short, while we continue to work with the Sheriff and Forest Service to gain access to the Sky Ranch, we also understand that the fire will have to be more stable before we are allowed in.
We have made arrangements to be at Highlands Presbyterian Camp through the end of this week. Looking forward, we have come to the conclusion the it may be some time before we are allowed into camp. We have decided to cancel programming for this weekend and the following week. This weekend was a Friends and Family weekend for our summer staff and we are making arrangements for those friends and family that would still like to join us. The following week (July 1 – 6) is our family camp. Many family camp participants have already canceled and those that haven’t we are helping to make other arrangements.
Since we will not have any programming next week, we are working on options for our summer staff. While many will take the time off to rest and recoup, we are also working with our sister camp, Rainbow Trial to offer a backing trip for the week.
Even as we make decisions for weeks to come, we give thanks for the opportunity to do ministry today. And fun ministry at that . . . where we get to sing songs and play games and build faith and grow self-esteem and celebrate in community. Through the challenges of the days, we give thanks for the blessings that continue to be so present in our lives: the hospitality of Highlands, the passion and energy of our summer staff, the joy of our campers, and the ever flowing grace and love of God!