Colorado wildfires: C-130s called in to help

People watch as smoke billows from a wildfire west of Colorado Springs, June 23, 2012. (Bryan Oller/AP)

A wildfire that was first spotted on Saturday near Pikes Peak in Colorado has burned more than 4,000 acres and displaced more than 11,000 people, as firefighters—backed by military cargo planes—continue to battle raging blazes throughout the state.

Fueled by dry conditions, high temperatures and hot winds, the Waldo Canyon fire—located about 80 miles south of Denver—”sent a mushroom cloud of smoke nearly 20,000 feet into the air over Colorado Springs near the foot of Pikes Peak,” Reuters reported.

According to the Denver Post, four C-130 military aircraft tankers were called in to help battle the blaze, dropping 3,000 gallons of fire retardant on the fire in shifts Monday afternoon. There are only eight such planes in use in the the United States, the paper said.

[Slideshow: Readers' photos from Colorado's wildfires]

More than 11,000 residents were evacuated, though more than half of them were allowed to return to their homes late Monday, leaving 4,800 displaced west of Colorado Springs. To this point, no deaths or injuries have been reported, fire officials say, but firefighters have managed to contain just 5 percent of the fire’s perimeter. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The highway leading to Pikes Peak, as well as popular tourist attractions like the cog railway and Garden of the Gods, remain closed. Several trails and a recreation area near the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs were shut down, too.

The wildfire is one of about a dozen burning in Colorado, including the High Park Fire—Colorado’s second largest ever—which has scorched more than 83,000 acres, destroyed 248 homes and is blamed for at least one death.

According to MSNBC, the Federal Emergency Management Agency authorized the use of federal funds to fight the Colorado fires.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said more than 2,000 people are battling the fires. Not surprisingly, the state has also issued a ban on fireworks and campfires, according to NPR.

“We’re going to be continuing to have to deal with these fires for weeks to come,” U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell told Reuters. “We anticipate it’s going to be a long fire season.”

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8 Responses to Colorado wildfires: C-130s called in to help

  1. Pingback: Fire and Water: What Might We Learn From American Disasters? « Christian Mission Control

  2. susan says:

    New fire west of Boulder…. :(

  3. Zenbear says:

    Let’s all send light and love to these fires and see the people and homes safe with refreshing rain falling in abundance upon Mother Earth!
    love, light, and protection to you Susan and mc and anyone else out there,
    Lily

  4. White Feather says:

    Have you seen the film “What on Earth are they spraying?” In it they talk discuss how flammable the aluminum products they’ve been spraying on us via Chemtrails are.. Yes rain is a factor but according to the film our forests and crops are being made into tinder by the stuff.

    • susan says:

      WF, I wouldn’t doubt that. They were blasting us with chemtrails big time during the winter and spring. Now, I haven’t seen any. Makes sense that this would be happening because of that…. I went up hiking at 10000 feet over the weekend and it was so dry and dusty and HOT up there, never before have I experienced that at that altitude….

  5. mc says:

    we are just south of the co. border… dry dry dry…maybe the dryest i’ve seen in 35 years?.. they say the rains always start after the Pow Wow… 2nd weekend of July…..

  6. susan says:

    We are right in the midst of these fires. I understand there are 10 of them now in CO but we have one north of us near Ft Collins and the one near CO Springs. It is VERY hot and dry here–we’ve had no rain, a dry spring, too. Please send your prayers and if you can do a little rain dance, that would be appreciated! <3

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