I've been a Reporter for eight years now. I've covered school shootings, tornadoes, deadly accidents and plenty of other terrible stories... but never, have I ever seen so much breaking news happen in one day. I'm referring to this past Tuesday, June 26 (2012). About fifteen minutes in to the afternoon editorial meeting I was deployed up to Boulder. One of our Assignment Editors told us a wildfire popped up near the Flat Irons and my Executive Producer asked me to go.
By Tuesday, there were at least a dozen noticeable wildfires around Colorado; having one close to a city like Boulder meant we needed to get there -- and get there fast. By the time I arrived a large plume of black smoke had burped up in to the sky. Along with 9NEWS Anchor Kyle Clark and Reporter Dave Delozier, I helped file live reports for the 4pm, 5pm and 6pm newscasts. Around the time 8 o'clock hit, we realized our wildfire wasn't as bad as the one our other crew was stationed at.
Kyle and I stayed in Boulder because we had to report for the 9pm and 10pm newscasts. Our colleagues Chris Vanderveen, Eric Kahnert and Brandon Ritteman were in Colorado Springs covering the Waldo fire. Heavy gusts made the Waldo fire go from bad to worse quickly. Within an hour's time several homes ignited on a ridge. Immediately, 9NEWS broke in to programming on Channel 20 to carry live coverage. Chris Vanderveen lead the coverage starting at 8pm.
What Chris witnessed and what everyone else saw on television was terrifying. Large flames burned through homes without any warning. Kyle and I had no clue how bad things were because we didn't have access to a television in our satellite truck. Eventually we were able to pull up a live stream on 9news.com. Needless to say, we were glued to the coverage.
The situation was so bad in Colorado Springs, our reports from the wildfire in Boulder didn't even make it on during the 9pm newscast. In fact, they only had Kyle on for a brief minute at 10pm for an update. It's been an awful long time since I've been blown away by images on TV, but the images I saw coming out of Colorado Springs are images I will never forget. My thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by the wildfire, including the firefighters who are doing an awesome job battling it.