COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – The massive evacuations from the Black Forest Fire have impacted thousands of people. CBS4’s Stan Bush talked to residents of a neighborhood that was destroyed by the fire.
Bush went to the Flying Horse neighborhood, which was under a voluntary evacuation order. It is just south of Old North Gate Road off Highway 83 where a mandatory evacuation took place.
Some of the homeowners have been on the hillside overlooking Highway 83 looking out to the fire. Bush was told the fire was just about a ridge away from the Flying Horse neighborhood. That’s probably less than a mile and it is certainly closer than it was before they shut the highway down.
Around noon the area exploded with fire as it re-erupted and then moved farther to the west. Homeowners were in that area and ended up lining up on Highway 83 as they watched their area burn.
Aerial crews fighting hotspots seemed almost useless as the fire erupted like a monster.
“I really thought yesterday we were going to be spared because the fire was moving northeast,” a resident said. “I figured, ‘Okay, I’m going to be alright.’ And then it all shifted and it all changed, and the rest is history.”
The map of the man’s neighborhood shows complete fire destruction. He says he heard the fire approach like a roaring hail storm. He’s confident his home is gone.
“What hurts is you spend your whole life having your little place, you know? And then it’s gone. So that’s what hurts,” the man said.
Evacuees on Highway 83 watched as the fire reinvigorated by shifting winds plowed through their neighborhood.
“The fire was about a half a mile away to three quarters of a mile away from our house when we finally left … and the winds are still heading right for it, so I think the neighborhood is at risk, definitely,” resident Chris Ryan said.z
Ryan and his family evacuated once on Tuesday and again Wednesday afternoon. They were already packed.
The erratic fire has few homeowners feeling safe.
“It looked like we were out of the woods and then when the winds shifted, this hotspot picked back up and we quickly realized it was coming straight our way,” Ryan said.
PHOTO GALLERY: Homes Burn In Black Forest Fire
Police and fire crews in the Flying Horse neighborhood told homeowners to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
At least 92 homes have burned, but even El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said when the fire is finally out, that number is going to be much, much higher.
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