View of the Black Forest Fire from I-25 Tuesday evening. [CPR/MVerlee]
As many as 100 homes have been damaged or destroyed in the Black Forest Fire, which covers about 8,000 acres northeast of Colorado Springs. Officials are trying to get a more accurate assessment of the damage. The fire was at zero percent containment as of Wednesday morning, but officials hope to make progress as air support arrives to fight the blaze.
“I have never seen anything like it,” said Kari Saebi, who fled her home near the fire on Tuesday afternoon. “It was just billows of smoke. It just seemed like explosions here and there. And it wasn’t just trees that were burning. It was people’s houses.”
About 7,000 people have been evacuated, but El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa is worried about those who did not heed the order.
“We had people that refused to leave,” Maketa said, “and one of my worst fears is people took their chances and it may have cost them their life.”
No injuries have been reported from the fire so far, however, and Sheriff Maketa says there are no missing persons reports at this time.
The Black Forest Fire is one of several wildfires burning around Colorado, including one near the Royal Gorge and another smaller blaze in Rocky Mountain National Park.