01 August 2008

Colorado Heatwave

There's no letting up with the heatwave we have been experiencing for 3 weeks now. Denver broke its' old record of 18 consecutive days over 90f and I believe is now running at 21 or 22 days straight.
Colorado Springs, approx. 60 miles south of Denver and over a thousand feet higher, is normally an average 10f cooler than Denver in the summer, but not this year. It has only been 2-5f cooler and unless you are fortunate to have a newer home, most do not have air-conditioning.

Today, Denver hit 101 and Colorado Springs at 99f.

This is also set to be the driest year since records began.

Just east of the Springs, a large fire was started early this afternoon and lightening is suspected of starting it.

EL PASO COUNTY - At least 6 buildings have been claimed by a wildfire burning east of Fountain that started near Squirrel Creek and Milne Road just before 2:00 p.m. Friday afternoon. It is about 80% contained and burned in an area west of Peyton Highway and all the way up to Drennan Road. One of the houses that burned was 100 years old.

A helicopter pilot from NEWSCHANNEL 13's sister station in Denver says that from the air, the fire covered a very large area, possibly several thousand acres. Ranch owner Bob Norris says 3,200 acres of his land was scorched by the flames.

There are no reports of any injuries.

Crews are still working to evaluate how large the entire coverage area is. The fire moved very quickly, jumping roads and pushed by gusty winds. Multiple agencies are working together in order to try and contain the fire before it reaches more homes.

Reverse 9-1-1 was put into effect in order to evacuate residents near the flames, however they were allowed to return home just before 6:00 p.m. El Paso County Emergency Management initially asked the Red Cross to open a shelter for evacuees, but called it off when crews were able to get a better handle on the fire. Several roads were also closed in the area.

Viewers called to say they saw lightning in the area around 1:00 p.m. A spokesperson for the El Paso County Health Department says they also believe the fire to be lightning caused.

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