The current Colorado Forest Fire has become the most destructive in state history, and the Royal Gorge fire is quickly approaching Colorado’s second-largest city.
On Thursday, a mandatory evacuation order was issued for Colorado Springs after 360 homes in the area burned to the ground and at least 14 more homes were damaged. The fire has already affected more than 38,000 people living in 13,000 homes throughout the state.
Officials warn that, with temperatures into the 90s and 30mph winds, conditions will continue to remain bleak over the next few days.
According to El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa:
“The winds yesterday really stirred the fire and pushed it off in quite a few directions. Wind is probably our number one threat. It is what has been the game changer. It is what has changed the conditions. I don’t know any other word to describe it but ‘very dynamic.’”
9News in Denver is reporting that the bodies of two people have already been recovered from a heavily wooded area that was recently destroyed by the Colorado forest fire. Authorities say the couple were packed and preparing to leave their home when they were overcome by fast moving flames.
About 750 firefighters are currently fighting the Royal Gorge fire. The fire has already affected 25 square miles, and only five percent of the fire has been contained at this time.
On Thursday, three separate evacuation orders were signed by Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper. The state has ordered $10.15 million to be paid for firefighting efforts.
In a warning on its official Twitter account, The El Paso Sheriff’s Office warns:
CLARIFICATION: MANDATORY EVACUATION means you are in immediate danger. Load your family and pets , and GO NOW. #BlackForestFire
— EPCSheriff (@EPCSheriff) June 13, 2013
The order on Thursday affects 13,000 homes and 94,000 acres of Colorado land. The fire has already destroyed 15,700 acres.
An order in Fremont county says of the Royal George Fire:
“The wind-driven fire quickly grew in size and intensity, prompting the evacuation of 190 homes and subsequently the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility. The fire started on the south side of the river and spotted to the north side. All available firefighting resources were committed to firefighting and structural protection.”
In the meantime, residents in Colorado continue to send in some amazing photos from the Colorado Forest Fire. Here’s the tweet for the photo featured above. The photograph was posted by Colorado resident Peter McEvoy:
— Peter McEvoy (@PeterMcEvoy2) June 12, 2013
If you live in Colorado, be sure to pay attention to your local sheriff’s department for more news about evacuations and precautions you should be taking.