Colorado Fires: Two Deaths Reported; 5 Percent Containment
Update at 7:15 p.m. ET. Two Deaths Reported:
The El Paso County Sheriff says that two bodies were recovered Thursday in the burn area of the Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs. A "coroner investigation is ongoing," the department says.
The sheriff's office also says that the Black Forest fire is 5 percent contained, with 15, 700 acres in the burn area. Some 38,000 people have been evacuated from 13,000 homes, the department says. Efforts to flee the area were hampered by thick smoke covering parts of the local interstate, reports The Denver Post.
In addition to 750 firefighters, members of the active-duty military and the National Guard are helping with the fight.
As more information emerges, many sources are using the hashtag #BlackForestFire to compile updates on Twitter.
Update at 4:45 p.m. ET. Authorities Order 1,000 Homes Evacuated:
Officials have ordered the evacuation of 1,000 homes in Colorado Springs. The Associated Press says it's the first evacuation within the city limits. About 38,000 people have already been evacuated in an area east of the city.
Update at 11:25 a.m. ET. Number Of Homes Destroyed Rises Sharply:
More than 360 homes near Colorado Springs have been destroyed by the raging Black Forest wildfire, local authorities now say. That's the latest word from The Associated Press and marks a sharp increase in the number of homes said to have been burned.
Our original post:
The news continues to be bad in parts of Colorado, where three major wildfires are burning. One, the Black Forest blaze near Colorado Springs, remains "zero percent contained" and has already destroyed about 100 homes, according to The Associated Press and other news outlets.
Colorado Public Radio's Ben Markus reports the Black Forest fire is expected to grow. The Denver Post adds that the blaze has forced new evacuations and is sending "a plume of thick smoke across the Front Range." The newspaper writes that on Wednesday:
"Dozens of residents received the news they had been dreading: The Black Forest fire had destroyed their homes. Others were left with something almost worse: The agony of not knowing."
The Post says nearly 500 firefighters, "supported by Chinook helicopters and air tankers spreading slurry," are battling the Black Forest fire. About 9,500 people have been forced to leave their homes.
While the Black Forest blaze is getting most of the attention because of its size (8,500 acres and growing) and the destruction it has already caused, Denver's 9News points out that it is just one among "multiple wildfires burning in Colorado. "
Thankfully, according to news reports, there had been no injuries or deaths as of Thursday morning.
-- NPR's "Fire Forecast" app, which is updated daily. We'll embed it below. The interactive should take you right to Colorado Springs, but you can change the location by entering a new "ZIP code, city, etc."
Wednesday's Two-Way post: