Colorado’s wildfires are beginning to come under control as crews built fire lines to stop the blaze’s progress, but the state is not in the clear yet.
Though the 26-square-mile Waldo Canyon fire was 45 percent contained, hot and dry conditions kept crews on edge and National Guard Troops were deployed to help local police return the areas to normal, the New York Times reported. There were close to 1,200 personnel and six helicopters fighting the Waldo Canyon fire, which destroyed 350 houses in Colorado Springs and left two people dead in the ruins of one house, the report said.
The fire was so hot that it melted bowling balls in the front year of CJ Moore’s home, the Associated Press reported. She was among the Colorado Springs residents allowed to return to their homes this weekend, and said it was odd to see what things burned and which hadn’t.
“To find my mail in my mailbox, unscathed. It’s just unreal. Unreal,” she told the Associated Press. “Bird baths are fine. Some of the foliage is fine.”
Authorities have let more residents return to their homes, with now only 3,000 blocked from returning, down from the more than 30,000 evacuated at the fire’s peak.
Pres. Obama toured the area on Friday to survey the damage the fire has left in the eight days since it started. The Waldo Canyon fire has destroyed 17, 659 acres and devastated entire communities around Colorado Springs, Reuters reported.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said he believed the worst of the fires was over and almost all of the state’s fires were under control.
“Now we’re beginning to look at how do we rebuild and begin the recovery. But we also know that Mother Nature can be pretty fickle out there, so we’re keeping ourselves very alert,” Hickenlooper said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Crews made progress against the other two Colorado wildfires. The High Park Fire, a 136-square-mile blaze in the northern part of the state that killed one person and destroyed 259 homes was considered fully contained, and the 18-square-mile Pine Ridge Fire in western Colorado was 10 percent contained.