Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Raw Videos Of Black Forest Wildfire Near Colorado Springs; Fire Now 100 Percent Contained

Just under two weeks ago, folks in Galena, Alaska received a "baptism" of water. Most homes there are now uninhabitable. But during the week of June 12th, residents of Colorado received a "baptism" of fire. The highest-profile area is the rural community of Black Forest, just northeast of Colorado Springs. Black Forest is spread out much like the area between Palmer and Wasilla, which made it difficult to fight this type of fire. The Colorado Wildfire Information static page I've set up is still available for all the stats, facts, and links to other sources, but with the fire now officially contained, the page will be taken down on Monday June 24th.

The Basic Facts About the Black Forest Fire: The fire was declared 100 percent contained on June 20th, 2013. However, the count of homes burned will continue to change. As of June 21st at 1:30 P.M. MDT, this fire burned around 14,280 acres, with 511 homes destroyed, 28 damaged, and 3,652 homes ruled as unaffected. An estimated 41,000 people were evacuated at the peak of the fire, but evacuees are now returning. Firefighting costs have totaled $7.0 million so far. The two fatalities have been identified as 52-year-old Marc Allen Herklotz and his wife 50-year-old Robin Lauran Herklotz, who lived at 6760 Jicarilla Drive. Their bodies were found inside their garage with the car doors open as if they were in the middle of evacuating.

NOTE: The #blackforestfire Twitter feed is still a useful source of updates. The Colorado Springs Independent provides a gallery of 37 post-fire photos HERE.

To orient you, here's a map of the area:

But it takes videos to convey a proper impression of the challenges faced by residents and firefighters. First, raw video shot Wednesday June 12th by KMGH Channel 7 in Denver:

Next, more KMGH raw video from an overflight of the area on Tuesday June 11th:

And finally, KMGH interviews Eric Scott, who barely escaped with his family on June 12th. He believes his home was lost; when he left, there were flames four stories high bearing down upon the home, and it felt like a blowtorch.

This is the second destructive wildfire to strike the Colorado Springs area in less than a year. Waldo Canyon wiped out 347 homes in northwest Colorado Springs last summer.

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