Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Waldo Canyon Wildfire Jumps Two Containment Lines, Burns Numerous Homes In Northwest Colorado Springs

The Anchorage Daily News contains a national story about the Waldo Canyon wildfire, which jumped two containment lines late on Wednesday June 26th after being driven by strong winds, and roared down upon the Mountain Shadows subdivision in northwest Colorado Springs. However, video footage originating from FOX21 in Colorado Springs really brings it to life.

The video embedded below is from their newscast late on June 26th. It is shot from some bluffs east of Centennial Road, and you're looking west towards the Mountain Shadows subdivision. In the foreground, you can see more densely packed neighborhoods immediately east of Centennial Road. When I lived in Colorado Springs from 1972-75, these neighborhoods did not exist; the city's population was only around 150,000 at the time:

-- View a series of 31 aerial photographs of the neighborhoods HERE. Photographs 1-7 show the neighborhoods; these photos are detailed enough to where a resident can determine whether his or her house survived or not.

-- View a series of before and after photographs of the Majestic Drive, Flying W Ranch Road, Rossmere Street, and Chuckwagon Road neighborhoods HERE.

The Colorado Springs Gazette contains a running blog of firefighting efforts and results. As of 0000 MDT on July 1st, two fatalities have been reported, and 346 homes have been consumed, including the famous Flying W Ranch. Two schools in the area, Chipeta Elementary and Trailblazer Elementary, have sustained smoke damage but are still standing. According to KKTV Channel 11, the fire has burned 17,649 acres and is now 45 percent contained. Only 10,000 people remain evacuated. On the south end of the fire area, U.S. Highway 24 between Manitou Springs and Woodland Park remains closed, although fire lines north of 24 are holding, and Green Mountain Falls and Cascade have been spared so far. Here's a map providing a large-scale perspective:

This post will not be updated except for some of the numbers; it is published primarily to spread awareness of the situation. Consult the following local Colorado Springs media sources for more information:

-- Colorado Springs Gazette
-- KKTV Channel 11
-- KRDO Channel 13
-- FOX21
-- KOAA Channel 5


  1. Two of my brothers were cooks at the Flying W Ranch when teens. They still live in Colorado Springs, although not in a(currently)threatened area. I've lived there as well.

    I'm amazed at the scope of the fire, considering the scraggly nature of the area's vegetation.

  2. The combination of tinder-dry vegetation, hot temperatures, and strong, variable winds creates a worst-case scenario for wildfires.