With a little bit of rain, firefighters say they were able to boost containment around the Waldo Canyon fire to 55 percent Saturday.
“The conditions aren’t exactly what I call favorable, but they’re better than they have been on other days and, you know, we don’t get to change the weather, we just have to deal with what it gives us,” Incident Commander Rich Harvey said.
At the morning press conference, Harvey had predicted that Saturday would pose increased difficulty for firefighters with hot temperatures, dry air and potential thunderstorms.
“We continue to stay focused on where the fire has potential,” Harvey said.
The containment lines Harvey explained Saturday stretch most of the way down the length of Highway 24. Additional containment lines are along Adobe Heights, parts of the area near the Mountain Shadows neighborhood and between Rampart Range Road and Rampart Reservoir.
Harvey added that firefighters are working very hard near Monument Creek. He described the area as rough terrain that took a lot of work to reach. Aircraft are also working in that area.
There was relatively little perimeter growth of the Waldo Canyon fire Saturday and Sunday. The estimated size is now 17,827 acres.
That good news was accompanied Saturday with the announcement that the evacuation of the City of Woodland Park is being lifted. The El Paso County Sheriff also announced he was hopeful that residents of Crystola, Green Mountain Falls and Cacade will be allowed to return sometime Sunday afternoon. That would require at least partial opening of Highway 24.
Within the growing fire lines, there were two so-called “green islands” of unburned fuels to the west of the Air Force Academy. Fire commanders say both caught fire late Saturday afternoon, but are not a high priority. They are each at least a mile from the edges of the fire.
Harvey says winds are going to want to push fire toward north and east. That puts Peregrine upwind and is a major focus of firefighter’s attention. “We still remain worried on the so-called upwind side,” Harvey said.