Thursday, June 14, 2012

High Park Fire Jumps Containment

Thursday saw the High Park Fire, in Colorado, jump containment lines and grow to over 52,000 acres.

Firefighters had been using Highway 14 as one of the containment lines, but embers crossed and the fire gained a foothold to the north of the lines.

The spread caused eighty more homes to be sent evacuation notices.

So far the fire has killed one and  destroyed one hundred and eighteen structures, many of which were homes.

Over 1,200 personnel are now fighting the fire, many from out of state, with that number expected to be 1,500 by the end of Friday.

Despite the jump, total containment is up to around fifteen percent.

The fire was started by lightning, Saturday morning, and is the largest in the country. It is nearing Colorado state records.

Remembering: The Bear Flag Republic

By 1846 the scene in California was extremely tense.

Most of the population, of the northern most part of Mexico, was made up of citizens from the United States.

The situation became even worse with rumors of war between the US and Mexico, over whether Texas could join the US.

In the spring of 1846, John C. Freemont, an officer in the US Army, began encouraging Californians to form militias and prepare for rebellion.

It is unknown if he did so on his own initiative, or under orders.

Either way, his encouragement worked, and on June 14, 1864 the revolt began bloodlessly.

The next day a flag was designed, and California was declared an independent country.

After the militias won a few small battles with Mexican forces, Freemont took command of their troops.

Rebellion spread, gaining more and more cities, but on July 7, a separate group of US troops raised the US flag over California territory.

The Bear Flaggers ultimate goal had been to join the US, and so they ended their own government to join the US as a territory.

In 1850 California would join the US as a state, bringing the Bear Flag with them.

Remembering: Old Stars and Stripes

On June 14, 1777 the Continental Congress approved a flag for the fledgling United States.

It was based on the Grand Union flag, which had been originally made by Betsy Ross.

Legend is that George Washington asked her to make it, to his specifications.

The flag was made with thirteen stripes and thirteen stars to represent each of the colonies.

At first, each time a state joined the country a star and a stripe were added.

It was in 1818 that Congress added a law that changed it to changing just the stars, and the amount of stripes was reset to thirteen to represent the original colonies.

Now, June 14 is known as flag day, in the US.