- Sun Jul 17, 2016 12:39 pm
July 17, 2016
To: PILOTS, BANDS, ENTERTAINERS, VOLUNTEERS, VENDORS, SPONSORS, COUNTY COMMISSIONERS, VILLA GROVE FIRE DEPARTMENT, NORTHERN SAGUACHE COUNTY AMBULANCE DISTRICT, SEARCH & RESCUE
The CFW organizers have had quite a scare this week, not to mention us (Tiff and Larry) personally, being that our house is at the base of the mountain range and all. On Friday, July 8, there was a lightning strike in the forest behind the ridge of CFW HQ, causing a tree to spark a flame. This was witnessed and reported by some folks over in the Fremont County area and fire crews set out to find itâ€¦which they never did. On Sunday, July 10, high SW winds caused this undiscovered ember to blow up, into what has since turned into a wildfire that has burned 16,000+ acres.
When the fire first started Sunday afternoon, Larry and I just sat and watched it blow up and build on the ridge behind our house; seeing flames on the ridgeline and fearing the fire would start to burn over onto our side. Luckily, the wind direction was in our favor to keep the flames moving the other way, which is where it has remained all week.
On July 11, the Forest Service requested that the FAA issue a TFR (temporary flight restriction) of the surrounding area, thus shutting down our airspace; the TFR was to remain in place through September 30. Along with the TFR came a forest closure order, so needless to say we became very concerned for Fly Week and feared having to call it off.
Emotions have run high this week; Iâ€™ve spent countless hours crying; the mere thought of calling off an event that I have worked my butt off for a year was something I just couldnâ€™t wrap my head around. So many peopleâ€™s lives were going to be affected, not just ours; thousands of dollars already spent; contracts signed; permits in place. The whole thing is really just insanely surreal.
Internet searches on Thursday revealed that the initial TFR had been rescinded in favor of an up-to-date one, one that does not include our airspace, but does encompass the whole back side. The forest closure, however, remains in place.
On Friday, July 15, Larry and Jim Zeiset had a meeting with Tristram Post â€“ District Ranger in Saguache County â€“ where they initially talked about the last pitch of the launch road realignment project, a file that she was quite familiar with. While discussing the fire was of more importance, they agreed to take a look at this project in the future once things became a bit less hectic for the Forest Service.
The discussion moved on to TFRs and the existing forest closure. While the TFR does not now include our airspace, the forest closure does currently remain in place. Given the complexity of the situation of CFW and understanding our strong relationships with the local fire department, search & rescue, ambulance district, and county commissioners, and the positive impact that CFW has on the local economy, she is going to work with us to do what she can to get this launch road closure lifted. That being said, it all depends on the fire. Words out of her mouth as of 7/15/16 were â€œDonâ€™t call it off yetâ€.
You can imagine our distress over this matter; at what point do you call it? Pilots and their families have committed to this thing, bands, entertainers, staff, security, vendors, etc. â€“ cancellations would have to be made, refunds issued, plane tickets cancelled, contracts brokenâ€¦
TFRs and forest closures follow the fire, so as long as the fire continues the trend of moving further away from us, so do those closures move further away. Larry was impressed by Tristranâ€™s encouragement and her being willing to work with us...however, we all understand that it just depends on the fire. The coming weeks will tell, and weâ€™re doing our best to hang in there, be hopeful, and pray that the skies start to unleash rain like weâ€™ve never seen before. Please try to hang in there with usâ€¦we need and appreciate your support. The show WILL go onâ€¦
Colorado Fly Week Event Coordinator
7/16/16 â€“ Last quote from Tristram was â€œI still feel confident we can work with you to allow use at least on the road to the launch site by August 27thâ€