Yesterday, as I was outside working on the house and fencing, I and others saw an incredible column of smoke billowing high into the air from a fire burning to the west of town. And not very far, by the looks of the plumes. It turns out to be, what authorities are calling, The Waldo Canyon Fire (it had vacillated between the “Pyramid Mountain” and “Waldo Canyon” fires, but I guess they’ve finally reached an agreement on what to call it). It originated in Waldo Canyon, but last I checked, there is no certainty on how it started, though there has been no lightning strikes for about a week. Everyone has their hands very busy with trying to contain it. For the latest in coverage check out any of the local media, but we’re following KKTV’s, since they were first on-scene and seemed to have had the best and most accurate coverage.
Certain areas around the west side of town have been evacuated, and some have even been told it’s safe to return (at last check) but Manitou Springs is currently until a city-wide evac.
Currently our neighborhood is not in any of the evac areas, but walking around outside I took some pictures, including the chopper dumping water (I actually saw water released several times–but was unable to capture those shots). And last night was eerie, because we can easily see the undulating glow of the fires as they waned and waxed. It reminded me of the LA wildfires in 2000 and 2009. It reminded me of them, not because I was there (I wasn’t) but because everyone was talking about seeing the burning glow. They were also featured in several TV shows, like the X-Files. I always thought, how creepy–well, it is, now that I’ve actually seen it.
So, for today, Sunday, June 24th, fire crews (including Type 1 Fire Crews) do not expect to be able to contain the wildfire, but they do hope to slow it down and keep it from growing. Approximately 2000 acres have been burned, 0% containment, and the fire is now within 1/4-mile of structures, but progressing in a generally northern direction (away from our neighborhood). Heavy transports and choppers are dumping water/fire retardant (like 400 gallons a shot, I just heard on TV). Military and C-130 support is expected tomorrow.
If you look closely at some of the pictures below you’ll see the chopper.
Here are some fire information numbers, that are staffed between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. MT: