Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rain dampens Colorado’s worst-ever wildfire

Environment News Service: A welcome rain [Friday] afternoon is helping to extinguish the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history. The Black Forest Fire within the Colorado Springs city limits killed two people Tuesday while they were trying to flee, and before the rain began it was still raging out of control.

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa told reporters the bodies of two people were found about 2 pm Thursday in their garage with the car doors open. They are believed to have died Tuesday afternoon as their Black Forest neighborhood was being evacuated. Their identities have not yet been released.

Since it started on Tuesday, the wind-driven Black Forest Fire has consumed 24.5 square miles, destroyed 389 homes and forced the evacuation of 41,000 people. Since the rain began, law enforcement officials have lifted all mandatory evacuation notices, warning that they could be re-imposed if the fire spreads again.

An estimated 800 responders are working to contain the the Black Forest fire, which before the rain started was just five percent contained. At least 140 personnel from the Colorado National Guard and National Guard members from as far away as North Carolina are assisting civil authorities with firefighting support.

Until Thursday, last year’s Waldo Canyon fire, 10 miles west of the current blaze, had topped the list of Colorado’s most destructive fires, with 346 homes destroyed. Now the Black Forest fire is considered the state’s most destructive....

A night time image of the Black Forest Fire at 9:30 pm on the night of the first day, 11 June 2013. Photo was taken from the Broadmoor Bluffs neighborhood of Colorado Springs on the lower slope of Cheyenne Mountain, about 20 miles away.  Shot by Ahodges7, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

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