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Colorado fires ignite dread, force dozens of emergency rescues

El Paso County Sheriff's Deputy Dan Cukowski helps evacuee Linda Davies walk her livestock out from the evacuated area during the Black Forest fire in Colorado Springs, Colo.
(Jerilee Bennett / MCT)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The damage from the Black Forest wildfire continued to grow Wednesday with 80 to possibly more than 100 homes already burned, officials said.

The fire, one of four burning in the state, has consumed about 8,000 acres, said Dave Rose, chief public information officer for El Paso County. There is zero containment of the fire, which was first reported about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday.

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This blaze is about 10 miles east from last year’s Waldo Canyon fire, which destroyed 346 homes and killed two people.

Rose said the people were feeling a sense of dread but also resolve. “It’s the sense of, ‘Yes, here we go again,’ but also, ‘We’re going to get through it again,’ ” Rose said.

According to Rose, 7,358 people have been evacuated from 2,625 homes. The homes that have been destroyed include primary residences on large 2- to 5-acre lots, some with horses, and more densely populated suburban subdivisions.

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No injuries have been reported, he said. But officials were concerned because some people refused to evacuate.

“Our worst fear is some may have paid dearly for that,” Rose said.

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In addition there were “dozens” who needed emergency rescues Tuesday night.

Temperatures are slightly cooler than Tuesday, which is expected to help firefighters. But winds were expected to again pick up in the afternoon. One of the problems has been the winds moving in a variety of directions that has made it difficult for firefighters, he said.

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As of Wednesday morning, the fire was being fought by 155 personnel, 48 trucks and other equipment and six planes.

Other Colorado fires include the Royal Gorge, which forced the evacuation of 900 inmates.

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