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Destructive Wildfire Activity Intensifies in Colorado

Posted by feww on June 28, 2012

Tens of thousands of evacuees crowding emergency shelters; hundreds of Colorado homes destroyed  

Waldo Canyon Fire dubbed ‘a monster’ by local fire chief grew nearly 300 percent overnight, consuming at least 18,500 acres, and destroying an estimated 500 homes.

  • The blaze has destroyed many homes on the edges of Colorado Springs prompting more evacuations on Wednesday.
  • As many as 50,000 people have fled their homes, so far, though the authorities have not yet revealed the exact number of the displaced, or the number of homes destroyed by the blaze.
  • The blaze has burned about 12 acres along the southwest boundary of the Air Force Academy campus.
  • The blaze, currently about 5% contained, is expected to continue growing:
    • Size: 18,500 acres [Reported by JIC at 11:57UTC on Thursday, June 28, 2012]
    • Structures threatened: 20,085 residences and 160 commercial structures
    • Growth Potential: Extreme
    • Terrain Difficulty: Extreme
    • Wind Conditions: 12 mph SW
    • Temperature: 93 degrees
    • Humidity: 8%

Evacuations and Closures

Currently on mandatory evacuation:  

  • Cascade, Chipita Park, Green Mountain Falls, Crystola
  • City of Colorado Springs
    • All areas north of Garden of the Gods Rd. between I-25 to the east all the way to the western City limits and north to the Air Force Academy.
  • Air Force Academy
    • Evacuated areas include all housing areas on the base except the airfield.
  • US 24
    • Closed between Cave of the Winds and El Paso/Teller County line.
  • Pike National Forest
  • Order 12-08 closes the Pike National Forest in the area of the Waldo Canyon Fire as shown on map of order.

Currently on Voluntary Evacuation:

  • Crystal Park
  • Manitou Springs

The fire is one of ten major wildfires burning in Colorado, as of posting.


Waldo Canyon Fire Map (June 27).

Other Significant Fires in Colorado

  • High Park Fire, Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests / Pawnee National Grassland, about 15 miles west of Fort Collins, 87,284 acres, 75% contained.
    • At least 257 homes have been lost and the toll is expected to grow as assessments continue.
    • Several thousand residents currently remain under mandatory evacuation orders.
  • The Little Sand Fire, located 13 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs, 22,440 acres consumed, 31% contained.
  • Weber Fire, San Juan National Forest, 6 miles south of Mancos, CO, has consumed 9,155 acres, 30% contained.
    • Evacuations are in place, number of evacuees NOT reported by Montezuma County Sheriff.
  • Pine Ridge Fire. “The lightning-ignited Pine Ridge Fire was reported June 27 about 10 miles northeast of Grand Junction above the Book Cliffs. It has grown rapidly and is currently estimated at 500 acres. Seven structures are threatened.” Inciweb reported.

At least 3 dozen active wildfires are currently burning hundreds of thousands of acres in Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Alaska, California and Virginia.

Montana Wildfires – State of Emergency Declared

Dahl Fire Wildfire. Montana Governor has signed an emergency declaration for Musselshell, Rosebud, Custer, Treasure, Yellowstone and Big Horn Counties and the Northern Cheyenne Reservation. Earlier this week, Gov Schweitzer signed another emergency proclamation for Lewis & Clark, Broadwater, Jefferson and Madison Counties.

  • Dahl, Hawk Creek, and Ash Creek Fires.The Dahl Fire in Musselshell County was reported on Tuesday, June 26th and has since exploded to 18,751 acres.
    • The massive blaze is fueled by high temperatures, low relative humidities and gusty winds, with ZERO containment.
  • Pony fire and at least 2 other fires, Antelope Lane fire and Corral fire, are burning in Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, threatening numerous structures.
    • The town of Mammoth and South Boulder north to the Indiana University Geology Field Station are under mandatory evacuation, fire authorities reported.

Utah Wildfires

  • The Wood Hollow Fire, a blaze about 1 mile south of Fountain Green in Utah State Division of Forestry Fire & State Lands has now grown to 46,190 acres, claiming at least one life and destroying a reported 56 structures  and scores of farm animals, mostly sheep.
    • The communities of Indian Ridge, Elk Ridge, Big Hollow, and Oaker Hills communities are under mandatory evacuation.
    • The entire town of Fairview (pop: 1,200) has been evacuated.
    • About 2,000 others have been evacuated from surrounding communities.
  • Church Camp Fire, located 22 miles S. of Duchesne, has grown to 4,000 acres, destroying 12 homes.
    • Mandatory evacuation ordered by Duchesne County authorities for the Argyle Canyon Road, east of State Road 191 to Gardner Canyon and 2 miles north and 2 miles south of Argyle Canyon Road.
    • Fire Behavior:  Extreme fire behavior, crowning, torching, spotting. Short crown runs in dense timber.
    • Containment: ZERO percent.
    • Growth Potential:  Extreme
  • Wyoming Wildfires.The Fontenelle Fire,  a wildfire burning in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Lincoln and Sublette County, Wyoming, about 33-miles northwest of the community of LaBarge was first reported around 4:30pm on Sunday, June 24.
    • The fire has grown nearly 9  folds from about 2,000 to 17,000 acres in 24 hours.
    • The blaze has forced several road closures and evacuations in the area.

Record heat continues in southern Plains

Excessive Heat Warnings

  • Excessive Heat Warning and Dust Storm Warning are in effect in Arizona, as of posting.
  • Excessive Heat Warnings are in effect in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma,  Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

Heat Advisories

Heat Advisories are in effect until 10 p.m. CDT today, expanding dangerous heat to the north and east. Record high temperatures are impacting parts of 13 states today including South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, NWS reported.

Record High Temperatures

Record high temperatures were reported at 92 locations in 10 central-U.S. states, NOAA/NCDC said.

  • Colorado reported 18 record high temperature, with the highest at 110 degrees at John Martin Dam, breaking the old record set in 1980 by 4 degrees.
  • Kansas reported 13 record highs, with the highest record of 112 degrees at Healy (Lane Co.), topping the old record set in 1971 by 4 degrees.
  • Other record highs and ties were recorded in Missouri (4 record highs), Nebraska (3 ), Wyoming (14), Arkansas (10), Oklahoma (5 ), Alabama (2), Tennessee (2), Texas (21).

Air Quality Alerts

Air Quality Alerts are in effect for parts of six states: Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia.


NESDIS Map of Analyzed Fires from Satellite Data


Current Hazard Mapping System Fire and Smoke Analysis – NOAA/NESDIS

Flooding in the U.S.

Some 24 locations nationally were under flood conditions this morning. Seven river gauge sites were at Major Flood level, three at Moderate Flood and 14 at Minor Flood; 22 sites were Near Flood,  NOAA’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service reported.

U.S. Drought

The drought in the U.S. has intensified since last week  with 72.01 of the lower 48 in D0-D4 (Abnormally Dry to Exceptional Drought) conditions.

  • No reported change in Hawaii since last week, with 78.89 of the state in D0-D4 conditions.
  • Alaska has reported an increase in dry conditions since last week, climbing from 18.35% to 42.00% in D0.

Source: U.S. Drought Monitor

Other Global Disasters/ Significant Events

  • Drought Impact on US Corn Crop. USDA has rated only 56 percent of the U.S. corn crop as good/excellent, the lowest rating for the category in quarter of a century.
  • Flooding in Florida. Scores of homes and dozens of road were left completely submerged under 2 feet of water, with low-lying areas experiencing up to 4 feet,  before Tropical Depression DEBBY finally left Florida, moving into the Atlantic.
  • Bangladesh.  Intense monsoon rains have triggered severe flooding and landslide, killing more than 100 people, washing away at least 1,000 homes and stranding about a quarter a million people.
    • Parts of the country received more than 18 inches of rain in under 24 hours.
  • Ireland.   Severe flooding in County Cork and Northern Ireland, caused by heavy overnight rains, has led to severe flooding, with Clonakilty and Douglas being the worst hit areas, said a report.
    • “There is no access in or out of Clonakilty, while Douglas village was under a meter of water. Parts of the city were evacuated and hundreds of ESB customers are still without power as a result.”
    • “Northern Ireland also experienced heavy rain. Homes in Belfast were flooded and motorists were forced to abandon their cars.”
    • Many homes have been evacuated in Ballyvolane, with flooding also reported in counties Sligo and Tipperary.
    • Many homes and businesses have been severely damaged by floodwater.
    • Met Éireann said it has been the wettest month of June on record in the Republic of Ireland.

Global Disasters: Links, Forecasts and Background

2 Responses to “Destructive Wildfire Activity Intensifies in Colorado”

  1. agreco71 said

    http://lewisandclark2011.com/2012/06/27/waldo-canyon-fire-shame-on-you/

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