It’s not even mid-June yet and we’re already having record high temperatures. According to 9News: The state reached a record high of 100 degrees, beating the old high of 95 degrees that was set in 1956.
Along with the record highs, as of yesterday, multiple wildfires are burning and thousands have been evacuated.
1. Colorado Springs — the Black Forest Fire: a heavily wooded residential area northeast of Colorado Springs burned 40 to 60 homes after it broke out Tuesday and prompted evacuations of about 2,300 homes, affecting about 6,400 people, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said. - TWC
Reuters: In June 2012, the so-called Waldo Canyon Fire reduced about 350 homes to ash in the Colorado Springs area and led authorities to place more than 30,000 people in the city and surrounding communities under mandatory evacuation orders. It was the most destructive wildfire in Colorado’s history.
The Gazette: At last count, the fire was at 8,000 acres. Sheriff Terry Maketa told KOAA TV that he thought as many as 100 homes may have burned. The evacuation area stands at 55 square miles. Firefighters from around Colorado have been streaming into El Paso County to join the fight. When the sun is up, helicopters and military planes are expected to join the battle.
2. The Royal Gorge Bridge & Park: In southern Colorado, the Bureau of Land Management said three structures have been lost in a fire on about 6 square miles near the Royal Gorge Bridge. Authorities evacuated Royal Gorge Bridge & Park, home of the soaring suspension bridge spanning the canyon across the Arkansas River. - TWC
HP: The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park have been closed and evacuated while the Arkansas River has been closed from Spike Buck through Canon City. “The last I heard the Royal Gorge Bridge is not on fire, but yes it is in danger,” Royal Gorge Fire Information Officer Gregg Goodland told The Denver Post Tuesday. Goodland said he couldn’t speculate whether the fire would reach Canon City.
DP: Near Cañon City, the 3,800-acre Royal Gorge fire threatened the famous suspension bridge there and forced the evacuation of about 1,400 visitors and 200 staff, as well as about 60 people from the Pueblo Community College Fremont Campus. The cause of the fire is under investigation. At 10 p.m., the Department of Corrections began evacuating about 800 inmates from the Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility in Cañon City to other local prisons, based on security levels and medical needs.
3. Rocky Mountain National Park — the Big Meadows Fire: a fourth wildfire sparked by lightning Monday quickly grew to an estimated 300 to 400 acres Tuesday. No structures were threatened. - TWC
Reuters: ”It is increasing in size due to winds, low humidity and beetle-killed trees” which are dry, said park spokeswoman Kyle Patterson.
4. Rural Huerfano County — the Klikus Fire (La Veta fire) had burned an estimated 45 to 50 acres west of La Veta, prompting evacuation orders for about 200 residences. - TWC
5. Western Slope — Tabeguache Creek fire in the Uncompahgre National Forest: 950 acres in portions of the Tabeguache Special Management Area. Although the fire is burning in a remote area, it is being managed to drive it away from private property, including three cabins. - DP
DP: No rain is in the immediate forecast, however, other than a few isolated afternoon showers. “Unfortunately, we’re headed into the driest, hottest few weeks of the year, the last two weeks of June and the first week of July,” Baker said. Moisture from the summer monsoon season isn’t expected to arrive in Colorado until mid-July, he said.
The Gazette: 4:40 a.m. The latest update from the National Weather Service office in Pueblo calls for severe fire weather starting at 2 p.m. Wednesday. Low humdity, temperatures in the 80s and gusty winds could drive the Black Forest fire.
The American Red Cross is now operating three shelters and one evacuation center in Colorado. See link for locations and more information.