The Waldo Canyon fire burns an entire neighborhood in near the foothills of Colorado Springs, Colo. Tuesday, June 26, 2012. 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.

Colorado Wildfire Doubles Overnight, 32,000 Forced Out


The Waldo Canyon fire outside Colorado Springs doubled in size overnight and forced more than 32,000 people from their homes, the Associated Press reported.

At 15,517 acres (24 square miles) as of the morning of June 27, the Waldo Canyon fire was not large in comparison to the Whitewater-Baldy fire in New Mexico, which consumed 465 square miles, or 297,845 acres, and was 87 percent contained as of June 25, the latest report.

But the Waldo Canyon fire was raging out of control and destined to grow. Winds of 60 miles per hour over drier-than-usual terrain were expected to fan the flames further, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“This is a firestorm of epic proportions,” Colorado Springs Fire Chief Richard Brown told the Denver Post.

The Air Force Academy was also threatened.

The fire was spreading so quickly that incident commander Rich Harvey told Reuters, “If I gave acreage right now, it would be wrong in five minutes. It’s growing.”

Colorado officials are already calling this the worst fire season in the state's history. The High Park fire just outside Fort Collins was still burning as well and had consumed 87,284 acres, or 137 square miles, as of the afternoon of Wednesday June 27. The Little Bear Fire in New Mexico had consumed 44,330 acres (about 70 square miles) but was 90 percent controlled.

More wildfire coverage:

Images From the Little Bear Fire Near Ski Apache Resort

Reintroduced Gila Trout Besieged by New Mexico Wildfires, Being Relocated

Mother Earth Burning: Climate Change Will Increase Wildfire Frequency, Researchers Say

Connecting the Dots: How Climate Change Is Fueling Western Wildfires

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