State and Federal agencies are engaged in remedy operations, however the magnitude of this situation has today, exceeded expectations. There are and will be many evacuations, and many will be left homeless. State charity agencies are stepping forward to provide aid, and citizens are volunteering resources.
We'll do everything we can, everything we need to, to beat this and come back.
We're Coloradoans. We help each other in the cruelties of Winter, and we Will come together now.
The story below is not my work, and presented and sourced at the end, followed by additional links;
Colorado wildfires worsen, 32,000 flee homes
COLORADO SPRINGS |
(Reuters) - A wildfire raging near some of Colorado's most popular tourist sites worsened on Tuesday, forcing 32,000 people from their homes, prompting evacuations from the U.S. Air Force Academy and swallowing numerous houses at the edge of Colorado Springs.
From the vantage point of a command post about 10 miles from the path of advancing flames, the entire community of Mountain Shadows, a northwest subdivision, appeared to be enveloped in an orange glow after dark.
"This is a fire of epic proportions," Colorado Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown said as ash drifted down on the city and the thick smell of smoke permeated the air.
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper flew into the city Tuesday night by helicopter to meet with fire commanders and tour the fire zone first-hand. He noted that the blaze was one of at least a dozen wildfires burning throughout the state.
"This is the worst fire season in the history of Colorado," he said during an impromptu news conference, adding that from the air he saw many homes destroyed in a glowing landscape that looked "surreal."
The Waldo Canyon Fire, which has roared through at least 6,200 acres of dry timber since Saturday, has grabbed attention for days because of its proximity to landmarks like the famed mountaintop of Pikes Peak and the Air Force Academy.
The blaze claimed its first property losses on Tuesday as wind-driven flames swept over containment lines into Colorado's second-most populous city, consuming an unknown number of homes on the town's outskirts as authorities hurried to evacuate residents.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said 32,000 people had been evacuated, and an Air Force Academy spokesman said the evacuation zone included two communities of single-family homes on academy grounds housing civilian and military personnel and their families.
"We are in a very critical situation now. Unfortunately we do have structures and homes that are burning in the northwest corner of Colorado Springs. We have mandatory evacuation over a considerable area," fire information officer Rob Deyerberg told Reuters.
A mushroom cloud of gray, black and brown smoke, topped by billowing, white cumulus clouds, rose nearly 20,000 feet into the sky and hung over the area as residents scrambled to heed evacuation orders.
The sudden closure of service stations along with other businesses, leaving fleeing motorists unable to fill up their cars, added to a sense of urgency as roads filled with traffic.
Closer to the blaze, which has been fanned by winds blowing into the southern Rockies from the prairies to the east, trees were visibly twisting from the heat of the flames.
"It's a very hostile environment out there," fire information officer Anne Rys-Sikora said.
Asked how quickly the fire was spreading after the latest flare-up on Tuesday afternoon, incident commander Rich Harvey said, "If I gave acreage right now, it would be wrong in five minutes. It's growing."
DEATH IN UTAH
Still, the Waldo Canyon Fire, burning primarily within the Pike National Forest on the western fringe of Colorado City, was dwarfed in size by wildfires elsewhere across the state, and by a fatal blaze that flared with renewed intensity in Utah.
Authorities said on Tuesday a body was found in the ashes the fast-moving Wood Hollow Fire about 100 miles south of Salt Lake City, marking the first fatality in a blaze that has scorched over 39,000 acres of rolling hills covered by parched cheat grass and sagebrush.
Flames fanned by high winds into a second county forced the closure of Utah's state Route 89 for a second time and prompted the evacuation of the entire town Fairview, a community of more than 1,200 residents according to the latest census, state emergency managers said.
The blaze already has leveled an estimated 30 homes and killed 75 sheep, authorities said.
The Wood Hollow Fire is believed to be one of just two western wildfires that have claimed lives in recent weeks.
The other is the High Park Fire near Fort Collins, Colorado, south of Denver, which now ranks as that state's second-largest blaze on record and its most destructive ever, having consumed 87,250 acres in steep mountain canyons since it was sparked by lightning two weeks ago.
The High Park has destroyed 248 homes and killed a 62-year-old grandmother, whose body was found in the ashes of her cabin, while leaving an estimated 4,300 residents displaced by evacuations.
Colorado accounts for several of the 29 large active wildfires being fought across the country on Tuesday. The bulk of them were in seven western states -- Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Arizona and California, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, reported.
Although federal authorities say the fire season got off to an early start this summer in parts of the northern Rockies, the number of fires and acreage burned nationwide is still below the 10-year average for this time of year, according to fire agency records.
Shamelessly Screen Grabbed from Reuters
Additional Story sources;
Christian Science Monitor
Colorado State Forrest Service
How to help the victims today and in the coming days and months. The following again, is not my work, and is presented as is, and with accreditation from 9News.Com;
KUSA - Hundreds of people called 9NEWS to ask how they can help the High Park Fire victims and the firefighters battling the blaze.
Here's a list of ways you can help:
- 9Cares Colorado Shares - On Saturday, June 16 we are collecting items for our 9Cares Colorado Shares Summer Drive. Come to 9NEWS between 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. with your food, clothing or cash donations. Any non-perishable food is appreciated; especially foods high in protein. We are also collecting clothing that will go to Goodwill. Money from their stores support their programs which serve at-risk youth, individuals moving from welfare to work, and disabled individuals. Online donations can be made here: http://bit.ly/NatAPz
- Second Chance Veterans Charity is opening their thrift store Second Chance Thrift located at 5816 S. College in Fort Collins to those affected by the High Park fire. People can come to the store and pick out any free clothing, housewares or anything of need. Anyone wanting to donate any unwanted clothing, camping equipment, or housewares can drop them off at our location to help in our plight. Twenty percent of all store proceeds will go to help those affected by the High Park fire. Store location: Second Chance Thrift, 5816 S. College Ave., Ft. Collins, Co 80525
- Donate to evacuees using this website, http://www.helpcoloradonow.org/
- High Park Fire Relief Fundraiser - Saturday at Pateros Creek Brewing Company, 242 North College Avenue, Unit B in Fort Collins from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- University of Colorado Health is responding to the High Park Fire with donations to the Red Cross, Rist Canyon Volunteer Fire Department and Poudre Canyon Volunteer Fire Department, as well as meal vouchers for residents affected by the fire. Those vouchers are being distributed at The Ranch by the Red Cross. Learn more at http://visionary.pvhs.org/2012/06/13/high-park-fire-how-university-of-colorado-health-is-supporting-employees-the-community-and-first-responders/
- Colorado Professional Firefighters Foundation - The mission of the Colorado Professional Fire Fighters Foundation is to provide aid and support to Colorado firefighters, their families and dependents, who are victims of tragedy. Donations go directly to the families or fire fighters who have served our community, going the extra mile to ensure our safety and who have suffered a tragedy. http://www.cpfffoundation.org/CPFF_Foundation/Home.html
- The Red Cross - donate online here:
- If you want to help the evacuated animals, you can donate to theLarimer Humane Society online here:
- If you would like to help the wolves who were evacuated from the Wolf Sanctuary. Find out more here:
- VCA Animal Hospital in both Fort Collins and Loveland are offering free boarding if pets of evacuees need a place for their furry friends to stay. They will also update evacuees' pets' vaccinations for free if need be. The Loveland location is open 24 hours a day . Call the Fort Collins location to find out their hours at .
- To ask about the High Park Fire, call or here:
- Find out if your loved ones are safe here:
Note: Gannett Foundation - the parent company of 9NEWS and the Fort Collins Coloradoan - is making a $10,000 grant to the American Red Cross to assist with disaster relief efforts due to a devastating wildfire in Larimer County.
(KUSA-TV © 2012 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)