A wildfire in the Black Canyon area south of Colorado Springs, Colorado has grown considerably more volatile Tuesday, forcing evacuations as homes, some of them valued over $1 million, burn.
Tuesday three forest fires were actively being fought for containment in Colorado. One is burning in an area covering 300 acres south of Canon City and the Royal Gorge area. The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park has been closed, and the immediate area was evacuated.
A second fire broke out in north Colorado in the state’s Rocky Mountain National Park Monday, the result of lightning. Large plumes of smoke have been reported however the size has yet to be estimated.
The fire approaching the Black Canyon area south of Colorado Springs was considered the lowest priority and the least threatening until Tuesday afternoon.
As of publishing, at least six homes have been reported to be within the wildfire zone with more homes still in the fire’s path.
After the volatile combination of record heat, severe drought, and gusty winds, these wildfires have become unpredictable and increasingly dangerous. Fires of natural causes are typically allowed to burn themselves out in order to prevent more dangerous fires in the future.
However, spokeswoman Kyle Patterson said the decision to fight the blazes was made as fire conditions are especially hazardous today and limited resources make fighting long term fires difficult.
As the fire neared residences in Black Canyon, locals received reverse 911 calls from authorities alerting them to the mandatory evacuation. Officials were also going from house to house knocking on doors to ask them to leave.
The Colorado Springs Fire Department is tackling the blaze with all their resources. Aid from other nearby departments has been dispatched.
The local Air Force Academy has also sent a fire engine and water truck with nine emergency crew members to help contain the Black Canyon wildfire.
Below is a time-lapse video made by a Black Canyon local who filmed the spread of the fire’s plume this afternoon:
[Image via ShutterStock]