The Burn Scar

A painting of the Waldo Canyon burn scar, as seen from the top of Blodgett Peak, in Colorado, USA.
Click on the picture for a bigger image.

About 7 years before the writing of this post, the Waldo Canyon Wildfire raged barely a couple of miles from my childhood home. My family had to evacuate the house. My mother described the fire coming over across the top of the mountains as “hellish”, saying the fire lit up the sky in orange, like it was sunset. The air was gray with smoke. For a few days they had seen the smoke from over the first range of mountains, but the day the fire came up over them, the wind was high, and it had come down the mountain towards them in a matter of hours.

The fire never jumped the major road to the west of the house, so my family’s home was never in danger. I was told that on their returning, there was an inch-thick covering of ash on the roof and floating on the kiddie pool we had had in the backyard at the time.

Others in the area weren’t so lucky. I remember checking out the Flying W Ranch’s website a few days after the fire had burned down a good deal of their buildings. They had closed the site, simply leaving a message stating they needed some time to think and process their grief after they had lost so much. (The ranch is now back in business.)

The fire was so hot that it sterilized the soil of the area. Even 5 years later, much of the forest hadn’t regrown, and you could see the bare orange cliffside under the black sticks of the pine trees. Closer to the edge of the burn scar, grass and scrub oaks are beginning to come back, though if you take a hike in the Mount Blodgett Open Space, you can still see shiny black char on the sides of the pine trees.

The story behind this particular painting isn’t as interesting. In preparations for coding a mini-game, I painted a picture I hoped to use as a background for the play-space, though this particular picture may still not be suitable for the purpose. I used a photo taken from the top of Blodgett Peak as the base of the painting, then colored over it. I plan on doing a few of these to better practice my skills in backgrounds for my comics and for painting practice in general.

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