The situation in Colorado has worsened, as a three-day-old wildfire exploded with massive fury Tuesday night into Wednesday.
Some 32,000 residents in Colorado Springs, Colorado have been forced to evacuate their homes.
“This is a firestorm of epic proportions,” said Richard Brown, the Colorado Springs Fire chief, Tuesday night. Wind gusts of up to 65 mph blew the fire straight through containment lines into northwest Colorado Springs yesterday afternoon.
The Waldo Canyon fire in El Paso County became an intense inferno late in the afternoon, raging toward densely populated neighborhoods.
A massive smoke plume covered Colorado’s second-largest city as thousands of residents who were forced to evacuate clogged highways.
“We have homes burning right now,” said El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, who was also one of those forced to evacuate from his home.
“This is a very bad day,” said Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach.
As the fire continued to swell, 100 percent of northwest Colorado Springs was ordered evacuated, including the Air Force Academy.
The weather is not helping.
Denver tied a record with its fifth straight day of temperatures over 100 degrees, and the hot is expected to continue for several more days.
While the Colorado Springs fire and the Boulder fire dominate the headlines, crews are also battling the High Park fire, which has been measured at 87,250 acres with just 55 percent containment. That fire is now the most destructive in state history, destroying some 250 homes.
Governor John Hickenlooper surveyed the Waldo Canyon Fire, telling reporters it was a difficult to witness.
“There were people’s homes burned to the ground. It was surreal,” he said last night. “There’s no question, it’s serious. It’s as serious as it gets.”
More in the videos below.
- Colorado wildfire of ‘epic proportions’ displaces 32,000 (cnn.com)
- You: 32,000 Flee ‘Epic’ Colorado Blaze (thedailybeast.com)
- VIDEO: Wildfire devastates foothills neighborhoods of Colorado Springs – @denverpost (denverpost.com)