Updated Sat, Jun 15, 2013 12:12 am
A 1978 Ohio University graduate is among the approximately 38,000 Colorado residents who were forced to evacuate their homes this week as the worst wildfire in the state's history continues to burn hundreds of homes and thousands of acres to the ground.
Nancy Bee left her Eastonville, CO home on Tuesday with four horses and six dogs as the fire spread closer to her front porch.
“All of a sudden the fire just got closer and closer. Every time a house would explode there would be just black smoke. I mean just over and over and over. It was frightening,” she said.
Bee drove away from her home in a truck full of animal care products and belongings for what could be the last time. The rapidly moving fire has already demolished more than 375 homes in its path.
“I totally can’t make any decisions, I’m trying to figure it out. I mean, totally. What do you take? I mean dog food, crates? Are we going to be gone forever or two days? It’s just been, it’s just been horrible,” she said.
Bee is seeking refuge in her truck, parked at a local county fairground, which is now a temporary home for her horses and hundreds of other large animals rescued from the fire.
“All my dogs are lined up with me in the front seat so I don’t care about me. This is all about them. I’ll survive. I’m just making sure that they’re going to be OK and then that’s all that matters right? That’s all we have,” she said.
While Bee was able to remove her horses and dogs from her property, her barn cats are still at her farm.
“I have no control. I cannot help them, and I just hope that they are there when I get back,” she said.
Dozens of volunteers and animal law enforcement officers have united to rescue and tend to large and small animals left behind in the path of the fire.
As of Friday afternoon, animal search and rescue operations were still underway.