Some folks have mentioned concerns about the fires and the flooding. Personally, myself and my family are safe. The black forest fire evac zone got about 2 miles from me, but no closer. The fire over near Pagosa was a good five miles from my grandmother and uncle, and my grandmother just wore a mask for a few days because of the smoke in the air, but had no ill effects. The flooding caused us to have to do some wet vacuuming in our basement for a few days, but nothing was damaged. The black forest fire did, however, destroy the home and business of the person I consider my beekeeping mentor, John Hartley. I can remember calling him in a panic after my very first install "I have no queen, I have no eggs, help!" He came down to Manitou all the way from Black Forest (about a 45 minute drive) and was like "Well, here's your queen, and this frame here is full of eggs..." but never batted an eye at my panic. The first day I saw the fire map, one of the hardest hit areas was the crossroads right up from his driveway. John and his wife Donna, and their golden retriever, were all safe. They were home, or near home, when Sheriff's deputies came by to clear them out, and were able to get a few personal possessions out of the house as well. But the house, and the shed and garage full of honey stores, equipment and supplies, his trailer, and the 40 hive apiary were all completely lost. John has been keeping here in the springs for about 40 years now. He was the main supplier in our area for queens, Dadant supplies and packages (he'd make a trip out to California every year and bring back a trailer of packages) and does almost all the honey and bee removals in the area. His "Black Forest Honey" is one of the most popular in town, too. The Colorado State Beekeeper's Association estimates about 65% losses this year for the state, between CCD and the fires. Some say that estimation is actually low, having no way to know exactly how many backyard hives were lost, since not all backyard keepers are part of a club and we don't have to register our hives here in Colorado. Feral colony loss is estimated to be heavy as well, the swarm season here was practically non-existent for spring, and is low this fall as well. So, that's the news I have about how mother nature beat us up this month.