I’m writing this on Day 5, and actually have some free time, but we are on a pre-evacuation notice, which means be ready to split in 30 minutes or so. We currently have developing storms that may or may not impact the fire. We’d need 3/4 to an inch of rain. One cell coming over Pikes Peak is hoping to be one with more rain to impact the burn.
Yesterday, day 4 of the fire, was a hugely impacting day, where the blaze tripled in size, fired up and over Queen’s Canyon, and down into Colorado Springs, where all hell broke loose.
I–along with a handful of others–watched the fire from our neighborhood streets, as it burned down Queen’s Canyon eastern slope. There were near blackout conditions from the smoke as well as from the burn out that caused the total evac of Mountain Shadows, which included those we know. I was told by one of them that she actually felt the heat of the wildfire as she was evacuating her home. From our home, I stood outside watched as flames burned down the eastern slope of Queen’s Canyon, not far from Mountain Shadows. Tons of smoke, and throughout the evening, as I continually checked our property for falling embers, I found enough charred debris (found a burned aspen leaf) falling that I turned on the sprinklers and hosed down our fences and other areas I thought needed it. Later, at night, choppers with bright spots cut down through the heavily smoky air and made several low passes around the mesa east of us.
What had happened was that a storm northwest of the fire headed into the blaze, while strong winds from the south-east and south-west all pummeled the fire at the same time. The storm north of the blaze let loose 65-mph outflow winds that, combined with the southern winds, forced the fire east, and into Mountain Shadows and adjacent areas. Officials said that it didn’t matter how many resources would have been positioned, the fire storm was simply too powerful and was flat-out unstoppable. There is still no definitive assessment of the amount of lost homes, but the video is heartbreaking.