Colorado is in a state of emergency with fires raging across the state. The fire in Black Forest is 0% contained and spreading.
The number of structures destroyed rose to 80 homes and a number of structures. On Wednesday, El Paso County Sheriff, Terry Maketa, said he wouldn’t be surprised if the number of homes destroyed topped 100.
Black Forest is a residential area northeast of Colorado Springs known for the Ponderosa Pines that surround the area. Maketa said about 2,300 homes, affecting about 6,400 people, were evacuated.
According to El Paso County Sheriff, Terry Maketa, the Black Forest Fire destroyed more than 40 homes after the blaze ignited Tuesday.
On Tuesday six helicopters and an air tanker were on the scene. Today C-130 cargo planes are expected to join according to the office of Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo).
Containment efforts have been hindered by the record high temperatures and strong winds.
“Weather is not working with us right now, but our guys are giving it a heck of a shot,” Maketa said.
Last summer a fire in Waldo Canyon killed two people and destroyed 346 homes and more than 30,000 people were evacuated. This fire is not far from that area.
“It’s very, very reminiscent of what we experienced in Waldo Canyon,” Maketa said.
“It’s moving really quick,” Brandi Grandon, 43, told the Gazette as she prepared to evacuate her home a half mile from the nearest flames. “This is horrifying.”
George Gonzales, 74, and his wife were eating lunch in town when their daughter called and alerted them of the fire. An officer allowed them to return to their home to get their dog, motorhome and truck.
The Black Forest fire is not the only one burning in Colorado there are three others, one near the Royal Gorge Bridge has already destroyed three structures and caused the evacuation of “Old Max,” the territorial prison in Canon City.
Adrienne Jacobson, Department of Corrections Spokesperson, stated that inmates were transported to other prisons overnight because of the danger from the heavy spoke. Nine hundred inmates were evacuated. The fire has not reached the prison
“This was done as a precaution because it takes a lot of time to move the prisoners,” Jacobson said.
Approximately 900 prisoners were moved. Medium and low risk prisoners were evacuated by bus.
The Royal Gorge Bridge is believed to be the world’s highest suspension bridge, extending about 1,000 feet above the Arkansas River, and is a notable tourist attraction in Colorado. The bridge has not been affected by the spreading blaze.
Highway closures have also been reported due to 30 feet high flames. More evacuations are expected.
Investigators have not determined the causes of either of these fires.
On Monday, lightning sparked a wildfire in Rocky Mountain National Park and it has burned about 400 acres and is spreading.
The wind gusts have made containment of these fires difficult. The fires have swept across Colorado and spread to Arizona, Texas, California, and Nevada.
By: Veverly Edwards