Conflagration! Waldo Canyon Fire, Colorado Springs June 26 2012-Airforce Pilot Calmly Films Massive Wildfire From His Home
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Tens of
thousands of people have been evacuated and multiple homes destroyed as a
growing wildfire races through Colorado Springs in a scene Colorado
Gov. John Hickenlooper described as "like looking at a military
KDVR reports as of Tuesday night the El Paso County Sheriff says more
than 32,000 people have been evacuated from the city of Colorado
Springs due to the Waldo Canyon fire and an unknown number of homes have
been destroyed. The fire has consumed approximately 6,500 acres so
"It’s like an inferno," Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach told KDVR. "We have quite a few homes on fire right now.”
Approximately 2,100 people were evacuated from the U.S. Air Force
Academy, which is north of Colorado Springs. The academy said in a
statement late Tuesday officials have directed a base closure for normal
operations for Wednesday, with only essential personnel reporting for
The academy is expecting its next class of about 1,000 cadet
appointees on Thursday, and says in-processing for the cadets will go on
Meanwhile, authorities in central Utah found one woman dead Tuesday
when they returned to an evacuated area, marking the first casualty in a
blaze that consumed at least two dozen homes and appears to be taking a
turn for the worst.
Throughout the interior West, firefighters toiled in searing,
record-setting heat that refused to relinquish its grip, as they
struggled to contain blazes in Colorado, Utah and other Rocky Mountain
Colorado has endured nearly a week of 100-plus-degree days and low
humidity, sapping moisture from timber and grass, creating a devastating
formula for volatile wildfires across the state and punishing
conditions for firefighters.
"When it's that hot, it just dries the fuels even more. That can make
the fuels explosive," said Steve Segin, a fire spokesman for the U.S.
All of Utah and much of Wyoming, Colorado and Montana were under a
red flag warning, meaning conditions were hot, dry and ripe for fires.
Tuesday was the fifth consecutive day with temperatures of 100
degrees or higher in Denver, tying a record set in 2005 and 1989. On
Monday, Denver set a record with 105 degrees. The previous record for
June 25 was 100 degrees in 1991.
Other areas of the state also topped 100 degrees Tuesday, including
the northeastern Colorado town of Wray, which hit 108, the National
Weather Service said.
What the nation is now seeing is "a super-heated spike on top of a
decades long warming trend," said Derek Arndt, head of climate
monitoring at the National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C.
The U.S. set 107 new temperature records Monday and in the past week
has set 782 of them, which are large numbers but hard to put in context
because the data center has only been tracking the number of daily
records broken for little more than a year, Arndt said.
But what's truly impressive, Arndt said, is that in the past three
days in Colorado and Kansas, nine sites have set records regardless of
the date. Usually hottest-ever marks are set in the scorching months of
July and August.
The scorching heat doesn't appear to be letting up soon. Segin said
such prolonged heat is "extremely taxing" physically on firefighters,
who are working long days and carrying heavy gear.
Television video from the 7-square-mile Waldo Canyon fire showed
smoke and flames close to houses in a forested neighborhood northwest of
Colorado Springs.The fire was 5 percent contained.
Two specially equipped Air Force C-130 cargo planes were helping fight the fire, and a third was expected later in the day.
With the nation's privately owned fleet of heavy air tankers already
in use or unavailable, U.S. Forest Chief Tom Tidwell said his agency had
to call on the military to help.
Tidwell told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday that
about half of the nation's personnel who are usually assigned to large
fires are working in Colorado right now.
"It's just because it's so dry," Tidwell said. "Not unlike New Mexico
— they saw very low snowpack, especially in that lower country. Hot,
dry winds with dry fuels, you get the ignition, and this is what we
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/06/27/tens-thousands-flee-their-homes-as-colorado-wildfire-grows/#ixzz1yz6ChOSS
In: Regional News
Tags: Waldo Canyon Fire, Colorado Springs, June 26 2012, Conflagration
Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado, United States (load item map)
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