Posted 5:46 PM 6/27/2012 : With son near Colorado fire, Tucson family feels the heat
TUCSON - The Waldo Canyon Fire, burning in Colorado, has been described as a "firestorm of epic proportions". Most frightening is just how close it is to populated areas. While you can't smell the smoke or see the flames from Tucson, many families in the city are feeling the affects of the fire.
Sam Fennema is a sophomore at Empire High in Vail. This past week he was with a group of 120 staff members and 44 other campers at the Eaglelake Campground north of Colorado Springs. Saturday, after a rafting trip, they got a big surprise from an official at their camp. "The director of the camp came on the bus we were on and told us a fire had started in Waldo Canyon and so that was close to where we were so we couldn't for back to camp," Fennema said.
Back home, Sam's father, Jeff Fenneman, had no idea of the danger surrounding the camp and first heard the news from another family member, Sam's older sister Abigail. "She called and explained what was going on," Fenneman said, "that everyone was safe, that they had to be evacuated and they weren't allowed at the camp, and they weren't sure what they were going to do."
Instead, they took a three-hour bus ride to Colorado Springs to a church to wait for host families to put them up. All they had were the belongings they left with that morning.
While the campers were never in any real danger, Sam Fenneman says you couldn't help but feel the ominous presence of fire. "It progressively got worse throughout the week, and by the last night I could see the fire crawling down the mountain, and it was pretty scary," he said.
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