Thursday, June 13, 2013
The Black Forest wildfire has become the most destructive in Colorado history, burning at least 360 homes, officials said Thursday. The fire is about 10 miles east of last year’s Waldo Canyon fire, which had been the state’s most destructive after killing two people and wiping out 346 homes. No injuries have been reported from the Black Forest fire, but one person is believed to be missing in the blaze -- one of four in the state. Officials said the cause is still undetermined for the Black Forest fire, which was reported about 1 p.m. on Tuesday. The number of houses confirmed lost to the wildfire more than tripled overnight, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said at a morning news conference, with at least 360 homes destroyed and 14 others partly damaged. That number, however, could increase Thursday. Officials have been unable to reach or check on at least 79 addresses, the sheriff said. Thick smoke that burns throats and stings eyes has blanketed the area, with a haze thickening the air an hour's drive north in Denver. On Wednesday, Denver International Airport temporarily closed two runways due to reduced visibility. The fire continues to churn through dry trees, grass and pine needles. The fire is burning without any containment, officials said. As of Thursday morning, more than 15,000 acres have been consumed, Maketa said.
The Royal Gorge Colorado wildfire to the south has destroyed 20 structures, including some in Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, and prompted evacuations of about 250 residents and nearly 1,000 inmates at a medium-security prison.