Colorado Springs Fire Forces Evacuation of 32,000 People | NECN

Colorado Springs Fire Forces Evacuation of 32,000 People



    Fire is 1 of 6 fires in Colorado that is burning out of control; fire chief says it is of epic proportions and not even remotely close to being contained (Published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014)

    (NECN/NBC News: Jinah Kim) - Firefighters are struggling to get a handle on a massive wildfire around Colorado Springs that has forced the evacuation of 32,000 people. The fire is one of six wildfires in the state burning out of control.

    It is being described as a fire of epic proportions.

    One of several fires burning out of control in Colorado, the Waldo Canyon fire near Colorado Springs, doubled in size overnight.

    "This event that's going on is unprecedented," said Jeff Kramer of the El Paso County Sheriff's Department.

    The numbers are staggering: More than 30,000 people have been forced to evacuate.

    "This is an active fire; it's not even remotely close to being contained," said Rich Brown, Colorado Springs fire chief.

    In one of the northern most subdivisions, dozens of homes are reduced to rubble.

    "We have a lot structures that have been lost; we're hoping, that area had been evacuated earlier. There were some people that refused to evacuate; we hope they got out,” said Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach.

    For those that did get out, the sadness of seeing their homes and communities destroyed is overwhelming.

    "It's my childhood home; I grew up there," said one resident.

    Sixty-five mile per hour winds gusts Tuesday pushed the inferno beyond fire breaks. Fire crews are now battling the wildfire from the ground and the air.

    The Air Force Academy evacuated thousands from its campus.

    Colorado Springs isn't the only major Colorado city being threatened.

    The hills around Boulder are also ablaze.

    In a state that is all too familiar with wildfires, this year is being called the worst fire season in Colorado history.