LOS ANGELES (LALATE) – As the Waldo Canyon Fire Map grew last night, new evacuations were issued in the Colorado wildfires fight. The Waldo Canyon Fire Map changes today are the result of new mandatory evacuation orders issued by officials to news last night. Manitou Springs remained on evacuation as Highway 24 west of Colorado Springs is closed as well.
Officials in the Waldo Canyon Fire are trying to prevent the fire’s spread toward Colorado Springs. The latest Colorado wildfire has prompted the greatest alert this week because of its attack in a populated region. Officials have been closing highway routes in the vicinity since Sunday. Today, officials confirm that Highway 24 remains closed near the Manito Springs west exit. Highway 24 eastbound lanes near Crystola are closed today as travelers approach the El Paso/Teller County line.
On Monday, Incident Commander Rich Harvey confirmed to news that he will be taking control of the fight, deploying a Type I Incident Management Team. So far, the battle against the fire which originated on Saturday June 23 has been successful. While the fire has grown today June 26, 2012 to nearly 4500 acres, officials confirm that the no structures have been struck. Moreover, overnight, firefighters were able to reach five percent containment.
Officials are worried that steep topography could allow this fire toi grow at least twenty-percent today, alone. And while thousands are on mandatory evacuation, firefighters told news today that some confusion about voluntary evacuations erupted last night.
Mandatory evacuations are in place only for Cedar Heights Subdivision and Mountain Shadows south of Chuck Wagon. In a news briefing today, officials confirmed that voluntary, not mandatory, orders are in place for the rest of Mountain Shadows. Besides the locations listed above, there are no other evacuations in place for Colorado Springs City residents today.
Additionally, shortly before sunrise today, El Paso County spokesperson Lara Sevene disputed erroneous news reports that the fire had jumped Highway 24. Sevene told news that the fire has neither jumped the highway nor is threatening to cross it. Officials, however, are warning of substantial damage to the Pikes Peak region Tuesday.
Officials also tell news that the weather conditions will hurt the fight against the Waldo Canyon fire today. The National Weather Service today said there is a “slight chance of showers and thunderstorms between noon and 3 p.m. Areas of smoke before 10 a.m. Mostly sunny, with a high near 94. West wind 5 to 15 mph becoming south. Chance of precipitation is 20 percent.” By Monday evening the number of evacuees topped 4800.
As of Tuesday, mandatory evacuations are in place for Crystal Park, Cascade, Green Mountain Falls, and Chipita Park. Mandatory evacuations are also in place for sections of Mountain Shadows: Rampart Range Road on the west and everything west of 30th St. and Centennial from Gateway Road north to Chuck Wagon Road. Officials also tell news that voluntary evacuations orders are in place for homes “south of Woodland Park and west to Edlow Road, including residents on both sides of Edlow” and homes in “Woodland Park east of Safeway and north of Safeway to Rampart Range Road, south to Edlow Road.” For the latest updates, and fire map, click HERE.