The Waldo Canyon wildfire near Colorado Springs has destroyed over 350 homes according to authorities near Colorado Springs, where the fire has displaced thousands of people.
Mercury News reports that Mayor Steve Bach made the announcement on Thursday afternoon about 346 homes that were destroyed on 35 streets, making it the most destructive fire in Colorado history.
More than 32,000 people are still displaced by the fire, and an aerial picture of the Mountain Shadows neighborhood showed houses charred to black rubble. The impacted homeowners will be shown a map of the area on Thursday night at 8 p.m..
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the weather forecast allowed for some optimism that firefighters may make progress with the blaze, with temperatures expected to be 5 degrees cooler than Wednesday. As of mid day on Thursday, the fire was only 10 percent contained, with the blaze reaching $3.2 million in costs.
MSNBC reports that Mayor Bach, after touring the Mountain Shadows subdivision and surrounding areas, stated:
“There was nothing left in some areas — burned out foundations that were smoldering. It looked like a nuclear weapon had been dropped. It’s as close to hell as I could imagine.”
According to Mercury News, Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey noted that no deaths or injuries have been reported in the fire that forced 30,000 people to flee from their homes on Wednesday, although he does anticipate a spike in crime in affected areas. Carey confirmed there has been one burglary arrest so far, on Thursday morning. He also believes that some damage being reported could have been made by first-responders in an effort to save lives and property.
Mayor Bach also noted that, despite the devastation the area is seeing, residents are banding together. Bach stated:
“All over the city people have taken in strangers and friends of friends of friends. Everywhere we turn, people are helping people.”
More than 1,200 firefighters are currently working to contain the Waldo Canyon fire.
[Images courtesy of MSNBC]