Waldo Canyon Fire: Careless Actions or Arsonist

Update: 7/12/2012

KKTV News 11 has reported that the Waldo Canyon Fire is 100% contained. However that does not mean the fire is out. Firefighters are still on scene, but has significantly reduced from the estimated 1500 or so originally on scene during the height of the fire. Approximately 90 firefighters remain in service in the event of further flair ups.

The two bodies found at 2910 Rossmere Street were identified as William Everett, 74 and Barbara Everett, 73 according to KKTV News. The couple had not registered for the emergency evacuation notification service.

The crash in Montana took the lives of four and injured two individuals according to an update by CBS News.

Update: 7/3/12

Well the Waldo Canyon Fire is 80% contained with 18,247 acres burned. We are making headway. Today was touch and go as late afternoon storm came through gusting winds up to 35 mph. We owe a lot to the firefighters who continually go into harms way. Although we haven’t had any firefighter casualties in the Waldo Canyon fire, we did have a C-130 crash  on Sunday that took the lives of two people, jeopardizing continued efforts for all wildfires in Colorado. Air Force officials grounded the C-130 planes, but came to their senses today and allowed them back into the air.

Also, like many Liberals and from Rahm Emanuel own mouth “never let a good crisis go to waste”, many criminals took advantage of evacuated areas and broke into homes. These are pretty low people and should be caught and thrown into to jail FOREVER.

Update: 6/27/12
Yesterday, Colorado Springs experienced their worst nightmare; a thunderstorm from Fremont County manifested itself just after 4 pm and traveled over the Waldo Canyon fire. Up until that time fire crews held lines and were making headway with 5% containment. Now on the surface that does not sound like much, but coming from 0% containment, that is something. This thunderstorm brought 65 mph winds across the fire area according to KKTV News 11. Glenn Beck would label this as the “perfect storm”. Fire crews diligently tried to maintain those established lines, but the winds proved too overwhelming and fire crews had to abandon their lines. The fire storm complete blew over the neighborhoods of Mountain Shadow and Peregrine. These subdivisions are in the foothills of Colorado Springs. The resulting scene looked as if the gates of fire “puked” all over the area. Mountain Shadows took the brunt of the fire spewed by those 65 mph gust. The image below is an Associated Press (AP) photo.

At this point we have 15, 324 acres affected, with 32,000 residences displayed from this fire, including county residences displaced from the areas of Cedar Heights to Woodland Park according to KKTV News 11 in Colorado Springs.

Waldo Fire near 2 pm.

Wind kicks up more at 2 pm.

This is an area I hold near and dear to my heart, moving to the area in 1998. It saddens me to see areas where I passed numerous times look like a battle zone from a war movie. Also in danger is the Air Force Academy. I’ve attended numerous Air Force football games and to think this fire could grow out-of-control again this afternoon due to another thunderstorm watch is heartbreaking.

Waldo Canyon Fire

East of Colorado Springs 4:39 pm

Fox News has a mini slide show of the devastation that occurred 26 June 2012, a day Coloradoan will never forget. Fox News Slideshow. The photo to the left is a photo I took from out east just off Woodmen and Hwy 24 area as the firestorm hit on 6/26/2012. The picture above is earlier the same day about 1:51 p.m. It gives you an idea what was witnessed from this location.

Last night I was able to tune into the scanner chatter between the fire crews as they made their way into the subdivisions checking for structures they could save against those beyond saving and any residence who were not able to escape in time. At this time, no lives have been lost, but there was some chatter last night that a fire crew found two bodies. I am back this morning to see what the wildfire brings. I am praying nothing gets out of hand again and fire crews can maintain the areas already contained.

Pray for rain only, no wind and no lightning. Wind is what we don’t need.

———– Original Post————
In a blink of an eye Colorado Springs firefighters found themselves fighting a wildfire that started around 1 pm in the Waldo Canyon area. This fire grew fast and quickly began to threaten many structures and people. The Colorado Springs area had a mild winter with very little snow fall and very little rain fall; ripe conditions to get a wildfire to take hold on dry brush and water starved trees. What are not helping are record high temperatures in the high 90’s and our wonderful “Chinook” winds kicking up. These winds can create swirling actions, so the wind direction can also change in a blink of an eye. We saw this many times on Sunday. Monday is no different and winds are blowing higher than Sunday.

According to latest estimates conveyed by Mayor Steve Bach at Sunday’s briefing about 11,000 people displaced from the Waldo Canyon fire. However, I am happy to say about 5,000 were allowed to return back to Manitou Springs at 8 pm last night as reported by KKTV 11 news. Additionally, estimates put the burned acreage at 3,346 + acres, 0% containment, no lost structures, and no loss of life.

First evacuations began with Manitou Springs, Cascade, Green Mountain Falls, and Cedar Heights areas as this fire was spreading rapidly. http://www.kktv.com/news/wildfires. Equally disturbing I learned via Twitter that one of my favorite political pundits, Michelle Malkin had to evacuate her home due to this fire, leaving behind the kids two parakeets.

So what caused this fire, many start with a lightning strike sometimes it could be arson. We do not know as yet what caused this fire, but some news agencies and others speculate it was through nefarious means. Waldo Canyon does have trails, so it is possible that a careless smoker walking the trail decided to flick his/her cigarette butt, not realizing just how dry the area flora and fauna were. I actually hope this is the case, as it would be alarming to think a serial arsonist is running around lighting these fires.

Saturday when the fire started, I actually was oblivious to what was happening until about 10 pm Saturday night. I knew about the High Park Fire up near Ft Collins, so when the Fox News or local stations talked about a fire, I assumed it was the High Park. Then one news cast on KKTV Channel 11 said Waldo Canyon – Colorado Springs, my ears perked up, but deeply involved in Twitter I quickly blocked it out of my mind.

Come Sunday morning, it had grown, still 0 % contained, and several areas evacuated according to KKTV 11 news. All day Sunday I tuned in and followed the gripping actions watching flare ups as KKTV 11 stayed on with non-stop coverage. No other programming or commercials disrupted the broadcast. Two news briefings conducted on Sunday gave everyone following the blunt truth; one from Coronado High School in the afternoon and the first one near Garden of the Gods that morning. Monday’s briefing at 8 a.m. from Coronado High School gave everyone updates to what happened overnight and plan of attack for that day. Another briefing is schedule for 4 pm Monday afternoon according KKTV 11 news, also at Coronado High School.

Watching the plume of smoke rise high above the Pike Peak Mountains, I gazed in awe of the enormity of this smoke cloud and how it almost resembled a normal cloud you would see on any normal Colorado day. Now I live a good distance away from Colorado Springs, but with my camera I was able to zoom in to capture this smoke cloud.

As I was watching the KKTV 11 news, midafternoon an announcement came in that a fire started in Elbert County. First reports indicated that about 40 acres affected and they were evacuating the town of Elbert. Okay, this was suspect as the fire started out in flat land area where the odds of natural causes are also unlikely. Was this deliberately set also? Current estimates from News 7 Denver put the burned area at 600 acres, with 90% containment.

Then around 2 pm another report came in that a fire was burning near Rainbow Falls, which became the Trout Creek fire according to KKTV News 11. This fire is off Hwy 67, which is south of the Waldo Canyon fire and an alternate evacuation routing to travel from Woodland Park to the Colorado Springs area. Hwy 24, which is a direct path, closed early on Sunday morning and still closed Monday.

In the time it took me to start writing this blog, two new developments arose.

Today, Monday 6/25/2012, a new fire started in Fountain, CO and according to KKTV News is contained and no structures threatened. Fire officials are suspicious on the cause of the fire as it was located in the middle of nowhere. Estimated 2 acres burned next to Fountain creek according to the news reporter from KKTV at the scene. http://www.kktv.com/home/headlines/Crews_Battling_Fire_In_Fountain_Size_Unknown_160278805.html

In addition, another fire started today, Monday 6/25/2012 at Lake George. More information is sought on this new development and will be updated as information is known.

According to KOAA TV http://www.koaa.com/news/fifth-day-of-suspicious-fires-in-teller-county/ Teller County officials are seeking information on a suspected serial arsonist for the 20 fires started under suspect conditions in Teller County. Is this arsonist the one starting fires here in the Colorado Springs metro area? I suspect the answer is yes.

One wonders what makes a person want to start fires; is it the destruction it causes, do they get a high off it or are they angry with someone who may have dissed them, and this is their punishment in their mind? Only their psychiatrist would know. If all the fires are the caused from an arsonist lets us pray that capture is soon before it goes too far and people actually die, rather than structures destroyed.