Firefighters trying to keep fire north of Highway 24
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The 2,000-acre Waldo Canyon Fire, west of Colorado Springs, is moving at about .25 to .5 miles per hour, and is expected to move toward the northeast today with prevailing winds out of the southwest.
Officials announced at 9:55 a.m. that Highway 24 westbound is closed.
With the fire burning close to busy Highway 24, emergency officials ordered new evacuations south of the highway in several neighborhoods. The entire town of Manitou Springs, with about 6,200 residents, has been evacuated. along with surrounding subdivisions in the nearby foothills.
In total, about 10,000 people are under mandatory evacuation orders.
“We anticipate movement to the northeast today,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Greg Huele said, explaining that 400 firefighters on-scene won’t attack the main fire directly, but will focus on protecting structures where they can.
Huele said the fire activity intensified Saturday night at about 10 p.m.
“It picked back up and gained some speed, but crews held the line to keep the fire from moving too far east,” he said. “We’re having a difficult time to locate and establish an anchor point,” he said, adding that the flames have burned to within a quarter mile of structures in the area.
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach said the evacuations are proceeding in an orderly way.
“It’s a time to be calm and a time to be vigilant,” Bach said.