The Black Forest fire has destroyed 360 homes. The area effected by the devastating fire is now close to 70 square miles. The fire has caused more property damage than any fire in Colorado’s history.
In addition to the homes, the fire has destroyed 15,000 acres of forest. The fire is expected to continue racing across the land as weather conditions are forecast to remain dry and windy. The wind, in combination with hot and dry conditions, contributed to a “red flag” fire warning for the areas surrounding the fire.
As reported by the Denver Post, a total of 38,000 residents have been evacuated from the surrounding area. The current evacuation order includes 13,000 homes and 94,000 acres of land.
Luckily no residents or firefighters have been injured or killed by the fires. Temporary housing has been established at several locations including Palmer Ridge High School. Additionally, several locations have agreed to house large animals. The El Paso County, Elbert County, and Adams County Fairgrounds are all accepting animals from evacuated residents.
As reported by CNN, the Elbert County Fairground is currently housing a few cows, hundreds of horses, and an assortment of alpacas, mules, goats, dogs, and cats. Many of the evacuees have ranches and depend on the animals.
Numerous residents were evacuated with less than 10 minutes notice. They essentially grabbed what they could and ran. Many evacuees are now uncertain whether their homes have been destroyed. Firefighters are working hard to contain the Black Forest fire, and preserve some of the homes in the path.
On Wednesday, Governor John Hickenlooper declared a disaster emergency. The designation will allow for the release of $5.5 million from Colorado’s Disaster Emergency Fund.
As the Black Forest fire continues to rage, many residents are facing the devastation of losing their homes and personal belongings. Fortunately everyone is currently safe and accounted for.
[Image via Wikimedia]