GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Safety officials ordered new evacuations in the second day of the battle against the destructive Black Forest Fire northeast of Colorado Springs. The fire has already burned at least 92 homes for a total loss and partially burned five others.
Video from Copter4 Wednesday evening showed at least three more homes that were on fire.
The fire has prompted evacuation orders and pre-evacuation notices to between 9,000 and 9,500 people and about 3,500 homes and businesses. On Wednesday afternoon officials extended the boundaries of the zone where mandatory evacuations are in place. All homes in this area are now under the mandatory order:
- Northern boundary: Walker Road
- Western boundary: Highway 83
- Eastern boundary: Eastonville Road
- Southern boundary: Burgess Road/Rex Road
There’s also a mandatory evacuation for another area: Elbert Road on the east to Highway 106 on the north, County Line on the west, and County Line on the south.
Two camps with a total of about 1,250 children and adults in Elbert County also were evacuated by sheriff’s officials.
Several new pre-evacuation notices were sent out, and they include some of Northern Colorado Springs. They are for the following areas:
- West to I-25 and all areas north of Old Ranch Road within the City limits of Colorado Springs.
- Burgess Road south to Stapelton Drive, and Vollmer Road east to Meridian Road.
- Latigo Blvd. south to Stapelton Drive, and Meridian Road east to Highway 24.
- Guy Ranch Road south to Stapelton Road, and Eastonville Road east to Elbert Road.
- Burgess Road south to Old Ranch Road and Poco Road, and Milam Road east to Vollmer Road.
On Wednesday afternoon heavy smoke from the fire moving south forced Red Cross officials to close a shelter they set up for evacuees in Colorado Springs. (Full Story)
The Black Forest Fire exploded in the woods northeast of Colorado Springs on Tuesday afternoon. By Wednesday evening the fire had grown to an estimated 8,500 acres. That estimate was made using mapping of the area, but El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said he believes it’s closer to 11,000 acres.
There are approximately 155 firefighting personnel working on the fire. No one has been hurt.
The fire spread rapidly in extremely hot temperatures on Tuesday and more heat came during the day on Wednesday. CBS4′s Justin McHeffey said temperatures reached into the 80s and 90s by the afternoon.
Light winds were coming in from the northwest Wednesday morning but they shifted and came in from the south during the day. That wind shift fanned the flames and it blew some of the smoke up towards the Denver metro area. The air was hazy with the smell of smoke in Denver Wednesday afternoon.
With the shift of the winds on Wednesday the fire began to burn back on itself and homes that were spared on Tuesday were put back in harm’s way.
Maketa said on Wednesday morning the shifting winds had emergency crews concerned about firefighter safety but at the evening media update he said no firefighters have been injured.
Maketa said officials are trying to locate a person reported missing Wednesday. It was apparently too hot for firefighters to go where the person was last seen. He also said he was worried about residents who chose to ignore evacuation orders and stayed behind.
“One of my worst fears is that people took their chances and it may have cost them their life,” he said.
Copter4 flew over the fire Wednesday morning and showed video of charred structure after charred structure. At least one home was burning when the helicopter was there at 7:30 a.m.
A large DC-10 tanker, two C-130s, six helicopters and one single engine air tanker (SEAT) are fighting the fire from the air.
PHOTO GALLERY: Homes Burn In Black Forest Fire
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