Galon Wampler in USA Today via the AP: A towering wildfire jumped firefighters' perimeter lines and moved into the city of Colorado Springs, forcing frantic evacuation orders for more than 32,000 residents, including the U.S. Air Force Academy, and destroying an unknown number of homes.
Heavy smoke and ash billowed from the foothills west of the city as the Waldo Canyon Fire became the top challenge for the nation's firefighters. "It was like looking at the worst movie set you could imagine," Gov. John Hickenlooper said after flying over the fire late Tuesday. "It's almost surreal."
With flames cresting a ridge high above its campus, the Air Force Academy told more than 2,100 residents to evacuate Elsewhere, fleeing residents covered their faces with T-shirts and bandanas to breathe through the smoke.Throughout the West, firefighters have toiled for days in searing, record-setting heat against fires fueled by prolonged drought. Most, if not all, of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana were under red flag warnings, meaning extreme fire danger.
The nation is experiencing "a super-heated spike on top of a decades-long warming trend," said Derek Arndt, head of climate monitoring at the National Climatic Data Center....
A FEMA photo of a 2002 wildfire evacuation in Colorado