Mountain Shadows neighborhood in which some 300 homes, all of them inside the Colorado Springs city limits, were burned to the ground.
The blaze was raging early Thursday in the mountains and in Colorado’s second-largest city, after more than 30,000 evacuees quickly packed up belongings and fled. The wildfire was one of many burning across the parched West that have destroyed structures and prompted evacuations in Montana and Utah.
Shifting winds have frustrated firefighters trying to contain the 29-square-mile Waldo Canyon blaze in Colorado Springs.
“It won’t stay in the same place,” said incident commander Rich Harvey.
Tom Harbour, director of fire and aviation management for the U.S. Forest Service, said there is competition for firefighting resources, including aircraft, throughout the West. Harbour said, resources are far from being exhausted.
“With over 10,000 firefighters in the Forest Service and the ability to get over 700 aircraft of all types, we’re feeling cautiously confident when you look at the season as a whole.”
Associated Press writers Susan Montoya Bryan in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Mead Gruver in Cheyenne, Wyoming, contributed to this report.
By Miguel Llanos
The National Weather Service issued a forecast saying the next 48 hours would be very challenging, as winds are forecast. On a scale of one to six on the Haines Index — which measures the potential for fire growth — the Waldo Canyon Fire is forecast to be a six by Friday evening. (end report)
According to the Incident Information System: U.S. Forest Service 2840 Kachina Drive Pueblo, CO.
Waldo Canyon is already at a Haines index of 6.
Fire activity increased along the entire perimeter due to Red Flag Conditions, wind shifts and Haines Index of 6 (very high). Fire has reached the south side of Rampart Recreation Area and reservior with a burnout being conducted to protect infrastructure. Indirect line location opportunities are being assessed north of Lucky 4 Road.
Incident has expanded to include Division D and X based on northwest growth of fire perimeter. An evacuation has been issued by the City of Colorado Springs for Mt Springs, Peregrine and Westwood. At approximately 4 pm the fire progressed west to east in Division Y crossing Queens Canyon and established itself on the east aspect of the Front Range. The evacuation order for Crystal Park subdivision has been lifted and residents allowed to return.
Video uploaded by U Tube user FOX21NewsColorado
Aerial footage of fire retardant drops in an effort to aid in the fight against the Colorado wild fires. Courtesy U.S. Northern Command.
Video uploaded by U Tube user MilitaryFrontline
Wildfires Seen from Space
Astronauts onboard the International Space Station took time out to film the Colorado Wildfires from the International Space Station. The vast size of the fires and smoke trails clearly visible on a backdrop with one of the Russian Soyuz Spacecraft in the foreground.
Video uploaded by SpaceVidsNet