The fast-moving blaze in a heavily wooded area reached a residential community, where it razed between 80 and 100 homes and an unknown number of outbuildings, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa told reporters. He said the fire was estimated to cover an area of 7,500 acres to 8,000 acres.
Evacuation notices went out to 2,600 homes housing 7,300 people, Maketa said. Army National Guard troops have been deployed to help police prevent looting.
The blaze is far from being under control or extinguished, Maketa said, adding that explosions, possibly from residential propane tanks, have been heard in some places. No firefighters or residents have been reported injured.
Maketa compared the blaze to Colorado’s most destructive wildfire in June 2012, the so-called Waldo Canyon Fire, which reduced about 350 homes to ashes and placed more than 30,000 people in the area under mandatory evacuation orders.
And here’s a map of the evac area.
The northwest corner of the zone is about ten miles from the VodkaBunker here at Casa Verde by road or just six miles as the crow flies. The fire is mostly moving to the east, away from us, but we’re on a few pins and needles.
MORE: I should have mentioned that the orange is the mandatory evacuation area, and the yellow is the be-prepared-to-evacuate area. The prep area is to the south and east, or exactly away from Casa Verde.
Also, the orange area is far bigger than it “needs” to be. The problem isn’t necessarily the size of the blaze or how fast it’s spreading, but the limited number of roads in and out. Many of those homes have exactly one way out, and should the fire close those roads…
Well, better to get out while the getting is good.