Waldo Canyon fire update: One death, 347 homes destroyed, 20K threatened
Original item, 6:34 a.m. June 25: The High Park fire near Fort Collins has dominated Front Range headlines for over two weeks. But it's hardly the only wildfire afflicting the state, and more are popping up with terrifying regularity. Case in point: The Waldo Canyon fire in Pike National Forest, which led to the temporary evacuation of an entire town, Manitou Springs, among a total estimated at 11,000 people.
Like the High Park fire, the Waldo Canyon fire has a federal InciWeb page devoted to it. At this writing, the acreage involved is estimated at 3,600 -- tiny in comparison with High Park. But its proximity to populous areas resulted in the aforementioned evacuations. And while Manitou Springs residents (about 5,000 of them) were allowed back into their homes after 8 p.m. last night, thousands more in the vicinity, not far from Colorado Springs proper, can't follow suit yet.
Meanwhile, Garden of the Gods Park, as well as the visitors center, remain closed, as do Highway 24 from the Teller/El Paso County line to Manitou Springs, plus the Pikes Peak Highway and the cog train, not to mention a slew of campgrounds, including the Farish Air Force Academy Camp and FS Springdale Campground.
Around 450 firefighters are already on the scene, further straining resources that have been depleted by High Park and other wildfires in Colorado. There's no containment thus far, but also none of the losses associated with High Park, as noted in this tweet from the El Paso Sheriff's Office, shared late last night.
#WaldoCanyonFire stats: 3600 acres burned, 0% contained. ZERO injuries.13,542 residences & 120 businesses threatened, 0 lost.— EPCSheriff (@EPCSheriff) June 25, 2012
The feds expect the fire to remain very active today -- hence the impending arrival of a Type I incident management team. In the meantime, fire engines will be staged in evacuated subdivisions should structures be directly threatened. And there's certainly the potential of growth by 3,000 to 5,000 additional acres, with spread of the fire west into Cascade and Green Mountain Falls and south into Cedar Heights a disturbing possibility.
Look below to see another photo of the fire, followed by a slew of user-generated videos.
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More from our Follow That Story archive: "High Park fire update: 83K-plus acres burned, 248 homes confirmed destroyed."