A three-day-old wildfire erupted with catastrophic fury Tuesday, ripping across the foothills neighborhoods of Colorado Springs, devouring an untold number of homes and sending tens of thousands fleeing to safety in what was shaping up as one of the biggest disasters in state history. “This is a firestorm of epic proportions,” said Colorado Springs Fire Chief Richard Brown. The Waldo Canyon fire in El Paso County — which had been growing in the forested hills on the city’s west side — blew into an inferno late in the afternoon, raging over a ridge toward densely populated neighborhoods.
An apocalyptic plume of smoke covered Colorado’s second-largest city as thousands of people forced to evacuate clogged Interstate
25 at rush hour trying to get to their homes or to get out of the way.
By nightfall, roughly 32,000 people left their homes, chased out by the flames.
Tuesday temperature hits all-time record of 101
After five days of record-smashing temperatures, Colorado Springs saw an all-time high Tuesday of 101 degrees.
The previous all-time record of 100 degrees has been seen only six times: twice during 2012: June 23, 1954 and 2012; June 24, 1954 and 2012; July 13, 1954; and finally July 24, 2003.
According to the National Weather Service, Tuesday’s high was recorded at 3:09 p.m., and it’s not going to cool off any time soon.
Temperatures are expected to hover around 97 degrees as late as 6 p.m. Tuesday, with temperatures not dropping into the mid-80s until 9 p.m., said Randy Gray of the National Weather Service.
Blaze jumps firefighters’ perimeter lines
(CBS/AP) WOODLAND PARK, Colo. – A stubborn and towering wildfire jumped firefighters’ perimeter lines in the hills overlooking Colorado Springs, forcing frantic mandatory evacuation notices for more than 9,000 residents, destroying an unknown number of homes and partially closing the grounds of the sprawling U.S. Air Force Academy.
Heavy smoke and ash billowed from the mountain foothills west of the city. Bright yellow and orange flames flared in the night, often signaling another home lost to the Waldo Canyon Fire, the No. 1 priority for the nation’s firefighters.