Jeff Warner PHOTOGRAPHIC, Golden, Colorado, USA

Monday, March 21, 2011

Indian Gulch Wildfire at Night

Wanting to get a better feel for where the fire actually was, after dark I headed up Lookout Mountain to see what I could see. As of midnight, the fire hasn't crested the ridge to the east flank of Mt. Galbraith, but is burning pretty vigorously to the west of the summit of Galbraith. After shooting some pics on the switchbacks, I headed up to Windy Saddle and hiked to the top of Mt. Zion, where a Highlands Rescue fire crew was stationed to observe the fire overnight. We saw numerous trees go up in spectacular fashion, and in the hour+ that I was up there, they said the RH (relative humidity) had dropped 8% (to 20%). They didn't seem to concerned about the fire heading down toward our subdivision, but tomorrow's winds will prove a challenge to get this fire in any way contained. I left the top of Zion at midnight. If you are interested in seeing more images from today, please see the Indian Gulch Wildfire Day 1 slideshow on my main website.

Never seen so much traffic on Lookout at night! This was at about 9:15 pm.

Closeup of the active zone.

My first camera setup area, I kept stepping on something, and finally turned on my headlamp to look down and see what the heck it was. Hopefully the mountain lion is satiated and long gone!

From the top of Mt. Zion (above the "M") at 9:40 pm, a high overcast still obscuring the moon, which was behind me. Our Mtn. Ridge subdivision is at the right edge of the image (behind the silhouetted tree).

A tree flares spectacularly.

Highland Wildland Fire crew, hunkered down for the night.

One of the crew checks the weather forecast on his smartphone. What did we do without them?

Finally the moon appeared to shed some light on the hills below. 11:40 pm, time for me to go...


  1. Incredible work Jeff. thanks for the view. Hope you all get to stay in your homes!

  2. Great pictures Jeff. Nothing like a midnight hike by firelight! Naomi

  3. Amazing shots! It's a very strange feeling to sit and wait and see which way the fire will go. We have many friends in that subdivision and we're right across from there. Too weird looking around your house and deciding what's most important....

  4. I live on Mt Zion and saw some of what you so wonderfully captured. Thanks for losing sleep to take these photos and then for sharing them.

  5. Wonderful pictures. Scary to see the fire close up in your pictures after watching and waiting (on the sidelines) in the past 24 hours. I appreciate you sharing them.

  6. Excellent shots Jeff but I gotta say it was nice NOT seeing that from our back windows last night - the proximity is scary enough yet you captured true beauty amongst the turmoil!

    and we love your quote - totally stealing that!

    "My $0.02 in a world where pennies are obsolete."

  7. Got my eldest and her family (and one in the oven) living in Mtn. Ridge and they've been packed for 2 days now. That sucks, but your pix are wonderful and gives me an idea of what's going on out there. Reminds me of living out in So Cali in the mid-70's. Thanks for your efforts, Jeff. Hugh & Elke - Bay Shore, NY

  8. Thanks for posting these.

  9. Thank you so much.. you are the only source out here.. I'm in Arvada.. my dads house is on lookout.. and my moms is 3 miles from the fire..
    SPECTACULAR pic's.. wow!!!!!
    I hope and pray the winds settle down...and the fire dies..and you and your family and friends and your house are safe!!!
    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for these pics!!!
    Deborah Vacano

  10. Thank you Jeff for sharing your wonderful work...
    amazing job. Daniel will watch them tonight.
    The Daneshka's family - your neighbors.

  11. We enjoyed this very much. You are making art from real-time events; a special skill. Wildfires are a scary prospect for many in the Colorado foothills community.....more a threat in the more mature and dense forested areas than in the sparse vegetation of the areas here, perhaps. Thanks from your Golden Beverly Hgts.

  12. Amazing pictures!

  13. Thanks to you all appreciate the kind thoughts. Glad you all enjoyed the images, and especially that they are helpful to those of us unsure of the fire's location. I hope these winds die down soon!

  14. These are beautiful, Jeff. We're across 93 from you and the fire and have mostly just seen the smoke. Thank you for sharing these.


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