Flying W Ranch Colorado Springs
Published: June 27, 2012
Flying W Ranch Colorado Springs, More than 2,100 residents were being evacuated from the Air Force Academy’s grounds Tuesday night as heavy smoke billowed from a wildfire that has burned an unknown number of homes near Colorado Springs.
The academy was telling families to leave two main housing areas, but an area of the 28-square-mile campus that houses cadets wasn’t immediately evacuated. A new class of cadets is still scheduled to report on Thursday.
Fire officials had issued a pre-evacuation notice for the academy earlier Tuesday. El Paso County sheriff’s officials have ordered an estimated 32,000 people to leave.
Fire information officer Greg Heule said earlier Tuesday that the fire was less than five miles from the southwest corner of the Air Force Academy’s campus.
Television images showed homes burning and the Flying W Ranch southwest of the academy said on its website that the ranch had burned to the ground. Colorado Springs Fire Chief Richard Brown said “many, many homes” also have been saved.
Meanwhile, authorities in central Utah found one woman dead Tuesday when they returned to an evacuated area, marking the first casualty in a blaze that consumed at least two dozen homes and appears to be taking a turn for the worst.
Throughout the interior West, firefighters toiled in searing, record-setting heat that refused to relinquish its grip, as they struggled to contain blazes in Colorado, Utah and other Rocky Mountain states Tuesday.
Colorado has endured nearly a week of 100-plus-degree days and low humidity, sapping moisture from timber and grass, creating a devastating formula for volatile wildfires across the state and punishing conditions for firefighters.
“When it’s that hot, it just dries the fuels even more. That can make the fuels explosive,” said Steve Segin, a fire spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.
All of Utah and much of Wyoming, Colorado and Montana were under a red flag warning, meaning conditions were hot, dry and ripe for fires. (AP)
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