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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Wildfire may be biggest property destroyer in Colorado history

    Wildfire may be biggest property destroyer in Colorado history

    Posted on: 12:22 pm, June 13, 2013, by Cary Docter


    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (CNN) — A county fairground northeast of Colorado’s Black Forest Fire is looking like a Noah’s Ark Thursday with animals rescued from raging wildfires.
    There were nearly 30 chickens, several hundred horses, a handful of cows and a couple calves, and many alpacas and miniature horses, according to the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office. Assorted dogs, cats, goats and donkeys mingled with mules and lamas. Three stallions were there. And for good measure, one yak.
    At least eight families also have taken refuge at the Elbert County Fairgrounds in Kiowa, the Denver Post reported. Kiowa is about 35 miles southeast of Denver.
    Joanne Gaishin slept outside in her car after fleeing her home with 18 chickens and three turkeys. “I stayed in the front seat of my car with all of my fowl in there, with the roosters crowing in the morning,” she told the paper.
    Meanwhile, in northeast Colorado Springs, iReporter Heather Croze took photos outside her home, capturing a billowing plume of smoke. One shot shows just how wide the smoke was on the horizon.
    The Black Forest Fire, burning northeast of the city, now appears to be the most destructive in terms of property lost in Colorado state history, El Paso County spokesman Dave Rose told CNN.
    The fire’s evacuation area is 93,000 acres encompassing approximately 38,000 people and 13,000 homes, and the flames are estimated to have burned through 15,000 acres, Sheriff Terry Maketa announced at a Wednesday news conference.
    That marked a dramatic increase from the 8,500 acres officials said had been burned by Wednesday night, he noted.
    “Wind is probably our number one threat,” the sheriff said at a morning news conference. Combined with dry brush and gusty winds, the winds have fanned devastating flames.
    Maketa said he struggled to find a phrase to describe how ferocious the fire is, settling on “very dynamic.”
    ‘Not knowing if I have a house’
    Earlier, Paula Warren, one of thousands of residents forced to flee her home northeast of Colorado Springs, spoke about how difficult it was to leave and wonder if her home is all right.
    “This part, not knowing if I have a house or not, is the worst,” she said.
    Warren thought she had more time to leave her home. But she was wrong.
    “I thought I had about an hour, and it turned out to be about 20 minutes,” she said. “I had a pillowcase full of socks, and that’s basically all I have.”
    Maketa praised the swift and strong help that civilian workers have been getting from National Guard and other military responders. Authorities said that they are watching neighborhoods and homes to do everything they can to keep them safe while combating the blaze.
    But there have been losses.
    Maketa said Thursday that 360 homes had been destroyed; another 14 were partially damaged.
    Ken Litch, a 12-year resident of the area, watched Wednesday as the Black Forest Fire gained ground on his home. There wasn’t much else he could do.
    “A hundred homes would be nothing,” he told CNN affiliate KUSA. “Whatever is in its way, it’s going to take.”
    Another man, his voice choked with emotion, said, “You’ve worked your whole life to have your own little place on this globe. You find someplace that’s special to you … and then it’s gone.”
    The inferno is likely to continue for a couple more days as temperatures are forecast to stay in the 90s through Friday, with winds gusting up to 30 mph.
    Maketa said he expects the fire to grow by another 3,000 acres.
    Famous bridge still intact
    Another major fire in the state is the Royal Gorge Fire, which is burning 55 miles to the southwest, on the other side of Colorado Springs.
    It burned several buildings around the iconic Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge, and threatened the bridge itself.
    Authorities downgraded the number of acres burned from 3,800 to 3,100 late Wednesday. The wildfire was 20% contained, the state office of emergency management reported. Twenty structures have been lost to the flames.
    “We have made good progress on the fire today without any accidents or injuries,” said Dennis Page, incident commander for the fire.
    The Royal Gorge Fire triggered the precautionary evacuation of some 905 inmates from the Centennial Correctional Facility, located in Canon City.
    Most of the inmates are “special needs,” meaning they receive medical treatment, said state corrections department spokeswoman Alison Morgan.
    The famous Royal Gorge Bridge that spans the Arkansas River is intact but needs to be inspected before it can reopen for tourists, a spokeswoman for the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park said.
    The suspension bridge, which is 956 feet above the river and among the highest in the world, is made of more than 1,000 wooden planks.
    “We did not know until today whether the bridge was still standing,” Gorge Bridge and Park spokeswoman Peggy Gair said.
    Gair says fire at the park burned a visitor’s center, a tramway building, a carousel and several restaurants.
    There were other fires in the state as well, including in Grand and Huerfano counties. Black Forest was the biggest of the blazes.

    http://fox6now.com/2013/06/13/wildfire-may-be-biggest-property-destroyer-in-co-history/
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    Property loss from deadly Colorado wildfire rises to 400 homes destroyed
    Reuters - ‎58 minutes ago‎

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. | Fri Jun 14, 2013 7:26pm EDT. COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Reuters) - Property losses from a deadly wildfire that ranks as the most destructive in Colorado history rose on Friday to 400 homes destroyed, even as authorities ...
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