Just 11 days before the one year anniversary of the devastating Waldo Canyon Fire that destroyed 347 homes and 18,000+ acres on the West edge of Colorado Springs, the Black Forest Fire which started Tuesday afternoon this week has already consumed 360 homes and burned over 15,000 acres. There is of course, this early on, no containment and nearly 40,000 residents encompassing close to 100,000 acres northeast of the city limits have been evacuated.
I honestly think people don’t get it. The lack of terrain isn’t going to make an appreciable difference here. Make no mistake; this fire is already proving to be more deadly with a much faster “run” than the Waldo Canyon fire….while the terrain is relatively flat in comparison to the Waldo Canyon Fire-the vegetation density is extremely high as well and is burning in a more populated area than much of the uninhabited Forest Service land in the Waldo fire. Crown runs do not completely burn ground fuels that prevents repeated burning when a fire turns back on itself. If this fire and the extreme weather it creates turns back on itself, those unburned fuels will burn yet again.
With the wind now pushing south, immediate evacuations for the north end of the City of Colorado Springs are now in effect and expected to increase. Smoke is visible from the cities of Pueblo, Boulder and north Denver along the Front Range (~100 miles).
On top of the 302nd Airlift Wing MAFFS C-130’s, and Chinooks with buckets, even bigger guns on loan (DC-10’s) from the Air Force as well as the Idaho Interagency Fire Center dropping over 25,000 gallons of fire retardant slurry in 10 missions have made no impact in slowing the fire.
This is only one of numerous fires burning in Colorado….And no one is speculating on the origin especially with the lack of thunderstorms and lightening in the area the past week…..
Colorado National Guard Photos showing awesome efforts to help control and contain this beast: http://www.flickr.com/photos/conationalguard/sets/72157634090174767/