News / USA

Firefighters Struggle to Control Colorado Fire

  • An aircraft lays down a line of fire retardant between a wildfire and homes in the dry, densely wooded Black Forest area northeast of Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 13, 2013.
  • Burnt trees and destroyed homes are left in the wake of a wildfire in the densely wooded Black Forest area northeast of Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 13, 2013.
  • Samantha Marison, an AmeriCorps volunteer firefighter, works in an evacuated area of forest, ranches and residences, in the Black Forest wildfire area, north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 13, 2013.
  • AmeriCorps volunteer firefighters help contain a spot fire in an evacuated area of forest, ranches and residences, in the Black Forest wildfire area, north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 13, 2013.
  • Plumes of smoke rise from a wildfire burning in the densely wooded Black Forest area northeast of Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 13, 2013.
  • Colorado Springs police officers wear masks for smoke as they man a roadblock to an evacuated area of forest, ranches and residences, in the Black Forest wildfire area, Colorado, June 13, 2013.
  • Black Forest Fire Department officers burn off natural ground fuel in an evacuated neighborhood north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 12, 2013.
  • Fire is seen in the Black Forest area north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 12, 2013.
  • Colorado Springs resident Yolette Baca takes a photo of the wildfire in the Black Forest area north of Colorado Springs, Colorado, June 12, 2013.
Greg Flakus
Firefighters northeast of Colorado Springs, in the western state of Colorado, say they have made significant progress in holding back a wildfire that so far has claimed two lives and around 360 homes. A lot will now depend on weather conditions.

The fires this past week have driven more than 36,000 people from their homes in the rolling hills and forested areas east of the Rocky Mountain front range north of Colorado Springs. Most are now staying with friends, relatives or in Red Cross shelters. Many of them left with only the clothes they were wearing and very little else when authorities called for a fast evacuation Tuesday.

On Thursday, authorities found the bodies of two people who did not make it out of their home as the fire swept through their area, known as the Black Forest.

On Friday officials sounded optimistic, though, saying the massive effort to bring the fire under control appeared to be working and that no more homes had been burned in recent hours.

Lieutenant Jeff Kramer of the El Paso County, Colorado Sheriff's Department, speaking by telephone, said cooler weather is helping.

"We do have some cloud cover. Obviously, one concern would be if we have any thunderstorm activity. Those can bring some pretty gusty winds at times. But so far the effort is going well out there, but we still have a lot of work to do," he said.

Kramer said authorities still do not know what caused the fire, but drought conditions contributed to its rapid spread.

"It has been extremely dry and 'red flag' conditions for some time, meaning just a lot of high fire danger days for us, so when something gets going you can have rapid movement and I think we certainly see that here," said Kramer.

The sheriff's department will conduct a criminal investigation to see if the fire was caused by arson. Since the fire killed at least two people, anyone suspected of having set the fire would face homicide charges.

The fire charred more than 63 square kilometers of grassland, forest and residential neighborhoods this past week, and is now considered the most destructive in Colorado history. One year ago, a fire about 16 kilometers to the west claimed that infamous distinction, destroying 346 homes and killing two people.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid