Archive for Pikes Peak

The Hayman Fire

Posted in Our Heros, The Big Chili Cook-Off, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 11-16-2011 by thebigchilicookoffevergreen

The Hayman Fire was a forest fire that started between the Kenosha Mountains and Pikes Peak on June 8, 2002, and became the largest fire in Colorado’s recorded history. Hundreds of forestry officials and firefighters fought the fast-moving inferno, which caused nearly $40 million in damages, burned 133 homes and forced the evacuation of 5,340 people. Smoke could be seen and smelled nearly 200 miles away. The fire wasn’t contained until July 2, 2002 and was finally brought under control on July 18, 2002.

It was determined that the fire was started by arson when a federal forestry officer named Terry Barton attempted to burn a letter from her estranged husband inside a campfire ring, ignoring a fire ban being enforced because of severe drought. She also wanted to play the hero by saving the forest, but that is far from what happened. The results of her actions were tragic. The fire quickly spread out of the campfire ring and eventually torched over 138,000 acres and burned across four different counties. The fire she started killed not only animals but also five firefighters and Ann Dow, a mother of three who died of an acute asthma attack caused by smoke inhalation.

A federal grand jury indicted Barton on four felony counts of arson.  Barton ultimately pleaded guilty to the arson charge and was given a six-year sentence in federal prison. She was also ordered to reimburse the federal government $14.6 million. The State of Colorado sentenced her to 15 years probation in addition to her federal sentence.

The trees and vegetation will grow back. The animals will return. The property will eventually be rebuilt, but there is nothing Terry Barton can do to make up for the loss of life caused by her rash actions that June day in 2002. And although we can’t bring back those who have been lost, we can honor them … by remembering.

America the Beautiful

Posted in 2011, The Big Chili Cook-Off, USA with tags , , , , , , , , on 06-06-2011 by thebigchilicookoffevergreen

Zebulon Pike was a military man and an explorer, albeit not a very good one. He spent a majority of his time lost, and misidentified several rivers and headwaters of rivers. However, in 1806, he received orders to find the headwaters of the Red and Arkansas Rivers, and so he set out for Colorado. He did many things along the way, including making treaties with Indian nations, but his claim to fame came when he discovered what is now known as Pikes Peak.

This was the first official US presence in Colorado. Some of Pike’s men returned east with treaties, but Pike stopped in Pueblo, Fountain Creek and at the Arkansas River. He and a few men tried to climb a blue ‘hill’ because they could map a lot of territory from the top. “I’ll be back in a few hours,” he told the others. Six days later he returned, never having made it to the top; but, in those days, that didn’t matter. Discovering it was enough, and the blue mountain was named “Pikes Peak.”

Many years later, Katherine Lee Bates, a professor at Wellesley College, was lecturing at Colorado College in Colorado Springs when she joined an expedition to the summit of the mountain in a prairie wagon. She was struck by the beauty she saw on top of the world famous mountain, whose summit is 14,110 feet. Miss Bates was inspired to write a poem which was published in the Congregationalist, a weekly journal, on July 4, 1895. She rewrote some sections of the poem, and a second version was published on November 19, 1904, in the Boston Evening Transcript. She was intensely criticized for what some thought was an overuse of the word “beautiful,” with some calling it hackneyed. Remembering the beauty she saw from the top of Pikes Peak, Miss Bates refused to change the words. Eventually, this famous poem was set to music and became the beloved American anthem America the Beautiful.

Making History

Posted in Our Heros, The Big Chili Cook-Off, USA with tags , , , , , , , , on 05-23-2011 by thebigchilicookoffevergreen

The Hayman Fire was a forest fire that started between the Kenosha Mountains and Pikes Peak on June 8, 2002, and became the largest fire in Colorado’s recorded history. Hundreds of forestry officials and firefighters fought the fast-moving inferno, which caused nearly $40 million in damages, burned 133 homes and forced the evacuation of 5,340 people. Smoke could be seen and smelled nearly 200 miles away. The fire wasn’t contained until July 2, 2002 and was finally brought under control on July 18, 2002.

It was determined that the fire was started by arson when a federal forestry officer named Terry Barton attempted to burn a letter from her estranged husband inside a campfire ring, ignoring a fire ban being enforced because of severe drought. She also wanted to play the hero by saving the forest, but that is far from what happened. The results of her actions were tragic. The fire quickly spread out of the campfire ring and eventually torched over 138,000 acres and burned across four different counties. The fire she started killed not only animals but also five firefighters and Ann Dow, a mother of three who died of an acute asthma attack caused by smoke inhalation.

A federal grand jury indicted Barton on four felony counts of arson.  Barton ultimately pleaded guilty to the arson charge and was given a six-year sentence in federal prison. She was also ordered to reimburse the federal government $14.6 million. The State of Colorado sentenced her to 15 years probation in addition to her federal sentence.

The trees and vegetation will grow back. The animals will return. The property will eventually be rebuilt, but there is nothing Terry Barton can do to make up for the loss of life caused by her rash actions that June day in 2002. And although we can’t bring back those who have been lost, we can honor them … by remembering.