Waldo Canyon fire update: One death, 347 homes destroyed, 20K threatened

Categories: News

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Pics, videos below.
Editor's note: Click here for the latest on the Waldo Canyon fire.

Update:Firefighters made progress against the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs yesterday -- enough to get a better sense of the destruction that took place the previous day.

The number of homes destroyed had been estimated at north of 300, and that proved all too accurate. Thus far, 347 homes have been confirmed burned, and one person has died.

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The latest map of the fire at this writing, courtesy of the U.S. Forest Service.
Thus far, authorities haven't named the victim, but the Colorado Springs Gazette reports that a person living at 2910 Rossmere Street remains unaccounted for. As of four o'clock yesterday afternoon, a handful of others were reported missing, too, raising the prospect of more casualties. But there's hope they've simply fallen through the cracks, as would be entirely natural given the scope of the evacuation; around 32,000 people have been displaced.

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The latest update of the U.S. Forest Service InciWeb page for the blaze, featuring information from late last night, puts the acreage consumed at 16,750, a number that's up from this time yesterday morning, but down from some estimates during the day as a result of more accurate mapping. Approximately 1,118 personnel are engaged in the battle -- the largest sum since the conflagration's start on June 23 -- and they had greater success in protecting structures yesterday than in the 24 hours previous. Still, the feds estimate that 20,085 residences and 160 commercial structures are still at risk of adding to the incineration total.

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A NASA shot of the Waldo Canyon fire from space.
On the positive tip, weather conditions that weren't quite as hot, dry and windy as before gave firefighters a chance to improve lines and actually do some mopping up along the Rampart Range Road, on the north flank of the fire -- and the Highway 24 corridor, which has been so devastated, was relatively quiet. As such, containment is up to 15 percent. But this accomplishment, achieved at a cost thus far of $5.2 million, is tempered by the understanding that these gains can't be considered permanent at this stage.

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Today, President Barack Obama is scheduled to tour the fire zone -- an indication of where the Waldo Canyon fire ranks among the blazes currently raging in several Western states. It's an honor Springs residents would gladly trade for a return to June 22.

Below, see the most recent map outlining the mandatory fire lines and several emotional new videos, followed by our previous coverage.

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Mandatory lines as of June 28.

Page down to see our previous coverage, including photos and videos.

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