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Twitter user @IngridWood5 sent out that message around noon on Wednesday, March 27. That's nine months to the day Colorado Springs woke up — if it slept at all — to start taking stock of what happened when the Waldo Canyon Fire roared into the city late on Tuesday, June 26.

Nine months later, the fear was still visceral. Just a couple dozen of the 345 homes that burned on the city's west side had yet been rebuilt. And thousands of other low-lying households were starting to brace for major flooding forecast for this summer around the 18,000-acre burn scar.

For many of us who moved to the Pikes Peak region from other places — colder, or wetter, or uglier, or more tornado- or hurricane- or earthquake–prone places — last summer's fire season served as a huge wake-up call. Turns out the Springs can't always be protected by that stately 14,000-foot mountain, or by its proud up-by-the-bootstraps mentality, or even by all those hands oh-so-famously clasped in prayer at our countless churches. When it comes right down to it, this is just another fragile, imperfect American city.

So why, at least when the air's free of wood smoke, does it still feel like something so much more?

We at the Colorado Springs Independent invite you to flip through these pages to find out.

— Kirk Woundy

colorado springs locals Stuff tourists (and you) should know:
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