Colorado Springs’ Waldo Canyon Wildfire Forces Evacuation of 32,000

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June 27 2012 3:29 PM

Colorado Springs’ Waldo Canyon Wildfire Forces Evacuation of 32,000

Firefighters in Colorado continue to battle an explosive wildfire that has already displaced 32,000 residents from Colorado Springs.

Winds gusting up to 65 mph are spreading the fire quickly across 6,200 acres, where record high temperatures and thunderstorms heavy on gusty winds and low on much-needed rainfall have slowed containment of the Waldo Canyon wildfire to only 5 percent. Six additional fires are active in the state, including a new fire in Boulder, which prompted pre-evacuation notices to 2,300 phone numbers. The High Park fire is the largest, having consumed nearly 90,000 acres, 257 homes, and cost $33.1 million to contain.

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Representatives of the National Wildlife Federation in Boulder, Colo. say the intensity of the latest fires are reflecting a pattern of growing heat and dryness predicted by scientists concerned about how climate change is impacting the region. With similar conditions in Utah, Arizona, and Nevada, and record temperatures expected for this week, western residents are likely hoping for some serious rainclouds in the forecast.

Video by Jim Festante.

Ben Johnson is the producer of Marketplace Tech from American Public Media.