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Entries in Waldo Canyon Fire (7)

Thursday
Jun282012

Waldo Canyon Fire Affects AWM

June 27, 2012

People all over the world are hearing about the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado Springs. I’ve been getting messages from people across the U.S. and other countries, asking how we are affected. So, this is an attempt to answer some of those questions.

On Saturday, June 23, around noon, a fire was detected in Waldo Canyon, which is west-northwest of Colorado Springs. Due to drought conditions and record-high temperatures, the fire immediately began to spread, mainly toward the northwest. There were 11,000 people evacuated by Saturday night. By Sunday morning, many of those evacuees were allowed back into their homes, and through Tuesday afternoon, the fire lines seemed to be holding, with the growth of the fire headed northwest, away from Colorado Springs.

That prompted me on Tuesday afternoon to notify our partners, through our website and email, about the situation. Although the fires were close, it seemed that all was okay, and our ministry would not be impacted. Before we could get that message posted, the situation began to change. A thunderstorm passed over my home, west of Woodland Park, and gave us some good rain. But all it did in the fire area was create sixty-five-mile-per-hour winds that blew the fire over all the containment lines and into Colorado Springs.

Firefighters continued to aggressively fight the fires that broke through the lines Tuesday evening. There is no official word on the number of structures lost, but just watching the news broadcasts makes it obvious that dozens of homes have been burned. Some of those are just over a mile from our office. In addition, many of our employees’ homes are in danger, and dozens of our employees have been affected and displaced. Throughout the city, over 32,000 people have been evacuated.

Ash and embers have landed around our building, but it’s pretty well protected and is not in danger at this time. However, it is within the area of mandatory evacuations. Therefore, all services through our ministry are disrupted at this time. Heavy smoke is also posing health threats for those closest to the fire.

Before the wind-driven firestorm Tuesday night that advanced the fire into Colorado Springs, they were estimating that the fire would not be fully contained until July 16. That estimate is surely pushed back now.

Our house is forty-two miles northwest of our office. The only way to get between the two is Highway 24, which is right on the southern edge of the fire. Highway 24 has been closed since Saturday. There are 70,000 people who use that road on a daily basis, and it has really disrupted all travel.

I was working on my shop Saturday when Jamie came out to tell me there was a fire. We looked east toward Colorado Springs, and it looked like an atomic bomb had gone off—that’s the way the smoke looked. We listened to the news and decided to leave then for a meeting I was doing in Ft. Collins, Colorado, the next day. We were afraid they would close Highway 24, which is what happened.

We came back into Colorado Springs on Monday, and there was lots of smoke, but it still didn’t look bad. With Highway 24 closed, we had to take a dirt, four-wheel-drive trail around Pikes Peak to get home. Our normal fifty-five-minute drive took two-and-a-half hours. We’ve been home since Monday, pretty much glued to the television.

The week before the Waldo Canyon Fire happened, we had a fire that was five or six miles west of us. That would make it about forty-seven to forty-eight miles northwest of Colorado Springs. It grew to 11,000 acres, and the smoke from that fire was so bad that we couldn’t breathe well on Sunday, June 17. We dealt with that fire the week before the Waldo Canyon Fire started. There are over a dozen active fires in Colorado right now.

This is disastrous! BUT GOD is well able to solve this whole situation with a good soaking rain. That’s what we are praying for. We would appreciate your agreement.

We are evaluating our plans for the Summer Family Bible Conference and our groundbreaking at The Sanctuary. We will be making a decision on that in the next forty-eight hours. There are many considerations and we are trying not to over- or underreact. I would appreciate your prayers for me, that I would have the mind of the Lord on these things.

As mentioned, ministry services are limited until we can get back into our building and our employees can get back into their homes and routines. We appreciate your understanding and prayers. We are reaching out to help others in our community with money and anything else we are able to give.

One of the bright spots in this whole thing is to see the way people are coming together. The Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other agencies have actually had to put out the word for people to stop bringing food, water, and supplies, because they have been overwhelmed.

We are to bless the Lord at all times (Ps. 34:1), and that’s exactly what we are doing.

We will keep you posted.

Thank you for your prayers and concern.

Andrew and Jamie Wommack

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