10:24am

Thu June 13, 2013
Wildfires

Black Forest Fire Burns 360 Homes

The Black Forest Fire burning north of Colorado Springs has burned 360 homes, making it the most destructive fire in Colorado history.
Credit NPR/Kirk Siegler

A wildfire burning north of Colorado Springs is officially Colorado’s most destructive fire, ever. Law enforcement officials announced this morning the Black Forest fire has burned 360 homes - that’s more than last year’s Waldo Canyon Fire. 15,000 acres have burned and nearly 40,000 people have been evacuated. Aspen Public Radio's Marci Krivonen reports.

El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa gave credit to firefighters’ hard work.

"When I talk about the loss of homes, I think the number 360 is shocking. What you don't hear me talk about is how many times throughout the day, law enforcement or even fire units reported to the incident commander to get apperatus or response to a particular address, and within hours, we heard that those residents were saved," he said.

No residents or firefighters are injured, although one person is reported missing. And, some people have refused to evacuate their homes.

The Denver Post reports, the evacuation area includes 94,000 acres. Meketa says it was expanded this morning.

He says he’s crossing his fingers winds die down, and weather conditions improve today.

"We did see a lot of losses, especially with the winds and if the winds kick up like they did yesterday, that's one of my greatest concerns." 

Near record temperatures, winds and low humidity have grown the fire. The Black Forest Fire was first reported on Tuesday afternoon. The Waldo Canyon Fire last year burned 347 homes.