Hundreds of people have returned to their homes as the firefighters reach 45% containment. Though still a tragedy, only two deaths are reported so far. (Both bodies were found in a destroyed home.) The total acres burned so far counts over 17000. Residents of the Mountain Shadow neighborhood–one of the areas worst affected by the wildfire–were allowed to tour the damage today. Obama declared the damaged area a disaster zone, allowing us to receive federal funding in helping with firefighting efforts and recovery.
However, with all the damage and homes lost, it could have been much worse. I would like to thank the firefighters and local officials for handling the crisis the way they did. Without their help, it is almost certain that there would have been more lives lost. Many firefighters continued to fight, despite lack of sleep, food, and energy. Many were forced to take naps because they refused to rest, instead wanting to help with the efforts.
And despite a few looters and scammers, the community has really come together to support one another. Donations poured in for firefighters, evacuees, and volunteers. As shelters filled, neighbors offered their homes to those in need. We even took in a foster dog because many animal shelters were too full.
I can still see smoke flowing from the mountain tops and at night, the smell of campfire still lingers in the air, and there is an orange glow that surrounds certain spots of the mountains. The fight is certainly not over, but it is definitely calming down.
For a creative way to donate to the Colorado Branch of the Red Cross, click here.
The most recent updates for the Waldo Canyon Fire:
Waldo Canyon Fire is now officially the worst wildfire in Colorado history. They said that while you often prepare for the worst, you hardly see it and this fire has been the worst case scenario. There is now one death and one person missing because of the wildfire. Approximately 340 homes have been lost, thousands still evacuated, and over 18,000 acres destroyed. Over 1,100 firefighters are doing all that they can to keep things under control, and have managed to gain 15% containment. Of course, this is also contingent on the weather and any sudden storms or wind shifts. At 8pm last night, the officials did allow some residents back in their neighborhoods, including parts of Rockrimmon and Kissing Camels areas (to find more updates on evacuation lifts, click here).
President Obama arrived in COS at about noon and will be here for three hours.The Mayor ensured that the president’s security will be handled completely by federal authorities so that all local attention can stay focused on the fire. He will tour damaged areas, talk with firefighters and local officials, and determine how much additional federal aid will be needed. So far, the damage is estimated above $3,000,000. KRDO has been doing a fantastic job with continuous coverage and updates.
You can also get more information here.
The fire continues to spread and work its way North. To see a map of all the wildfires in CO and corresponding evacuation areas, click here. Please remember to be prepared–once the fire reaches you, it won’t allow you much time to pack and gather your things. And thought the officials are keeping an eye on things and alerting people, this fire is hard to predict because of the weather, so don’t wait for an evacuation notice. If you think you’re in danger, they are saying to go ahead and leave.
Right now, the east side of the Springs is ok still, but it’s always better to be prepared.