There are three major wildfires and seven minor wildfires currently burning in Colorado. I’m classifying major vs minor primarily based on proximity to cities and large-scale damage. I’m not going to post pictures here; there are a million on the Denver Post and Colorado Springs Gazette websites and available on Twitter at the respective hashtags.
The Flagstaff fire (#FlagstaffFire) is currently burning on one of the mountains that overlooks the city of Boulder. The Flagstaff fire was started by lightning in a dry thunderstorm. Firefighters managed to contain the fire before it spread to the neighborhoods to the west of the fire, and have cleared firebreaks to prevent it from moving into Boulder. Assuming no freak weather occurrences like what happened in Waldo Canyon, the city should be safe despite the fire reaching within a mile and a half of city limits. If the fire does manage to come down the mountain, the National Center for Atmospheric Research is in its path. The fire has burned somewhere between 230 and 300 acres, depending on where you get your news, and is 30% contained.
The High Park fire (#HighParkFire) has taken a back seat in the news recently due to the more dramatic fires in Boulder and Colorado Springs. The High Park Fire is believed to have been started by lightning. It has burned over 87,000 acres (that’s over 135 square miles) but isn’t threatening much in the way of homes and businesses. Containment is at 75%.
The Waldo Canyon fire (#WaldoCanyonFire) is the fire you’re seeing on the news and on Michelle Malkin’s blog. The fire is starting to burn neighborhoods in Colorado Springs and is approaching the Garden of the Gods and the Air Force Academy. The Waldo Canyon fire wouldn’t be nearly as serious as it is if it weren’t for the winds; Tuesday the winds kicked up to 65 MPH and blew the fire across the two firebreaks that were protecting the city. The fire is at 18,500 acres with containment at 5%.
The Waldo Canyon fire is believed to have been caused by arson. There are a couple of interesting things about this. One is a Craigslist post by someone claiming to have seen the arsonist and claiming that calls to the tipline are not being returned. Another is the question of whether the arsons (both in Colorado Springs and in neighboring Teller County) are related to terrorism. The FBI is investigating the Waldo Canyon fire, but I’m not convinced there will be an announcement if there is something more than a garden-variety firebug at work.
Despite the objections of many of the locals, President Obama will be arriving in Colorado Springs tomorrow to g
ladhand and campaign survey the damage. I’m certain our President will be able to turn back the flames with the power of his mind, and won’t burden anyone at all with any security concerns.