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Waldo Canyon Press Conference, 6/28/12

By: KKTV
By: KKTV

The worst day of the Waldo Canyon fire, one which saw tens of thousands flee neighborhoods as flames marched relentlessly towards their homes, was followed by one of the best.

"Yesterday was a good day for fighting fire," Forest Supervisor Jerri Marr said, saying firefighters were able to make good headway Wednesday.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department concurred. An official with the department said firefighters were able to get inside the battered neighborhoods and mop up remaining fires.

Thursday is expected to have similar weather as Wednesday, which proved effective at slowing the fire's spread, a far cry from Tuesday when strong winds, dry air and high temperatures created a deadly recipe for fire activity.

"We woke up very excited today," Marr said, explaining that Thursday was the first day without a red flag warning.

It wasn't all good news at Wednesday's press conference. Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach acknowledged that while an exact number wasn't available, "hundreds" of homes were destroyed Tuesday night.

"We're working through homes, assessing addresses to make sure all information is accurate," Bach said, stressing that he did not want to give false hope to any of the victims, or panic anyone needlessly.

Officials hoped by noon to have more a more precise number of houses damaged or destroyed. [Updated 1:45 p.m.: There will be a meeting at 6 p.m., location TBA, for Colorado Springs residents who believe their homes were burned. People attending must bring their IDs because the meeting is not open to the public. There will be grief counselors available.]

No one battling the fire has been injured, another piece of good news as the Waldo Canyon fire enters its sixth day.

The fire remains 5 percent contained, but officials said they expect a much higher number Friday.

Additional Notes

-There are no new evacuation orders, and no changes to previous orders. Fire officials are constantly evaluating the fire condition to make sure they are doing all they can to allow people back into when it's safe to do so.

-Shelters are still open

-18,500 acres

-Bach said this fire should be a huge wake-up call for anyone west of I-25, where fire danger is highest. He thinks fire mitigation should be a priority for all of Colorado Springs.

-There is still no cause for the fire. The U.S. Forest Service is prepared to go into the fire area the moment it's safe to do so to begin the investigation.

-CSPD have arrested a few people for trespassing into evacuated areas, as well as catching a number of other people attempting to get through barricades. CSPD wants to stress that police will remain at the evacuated areas both to protect people from injuries, and also to give evacuated residents a piece of mind that their homes are being protected. If anyone tries to enter these areas, they will be arrested.


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