EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. - "Whatever it is, it's burning fast."
That's what a 911 caller told El Paso County dispatchers during some of the initial calls about what would become the Black Forest Fire, the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history.
CALLER: I'm looking at smoke. It looks like a large fire at the area of Shoup and Highway 83, maybe a little east of that.
DISPATCHER: It looks like it's in the area of Shoup and 83?
CALLER: Yes, maybe a little east of Shoup and 83.
DISPATCHER: OK. Can you see smoke and flames?
CALLER: I cannot see flames. I see a very large smoke and it's changing colors between black and white. It's really pretty good amount of smoke. Whatever it is, it’s burning fast.
DISPATCHER: OK. We have help on the way.
The Colorado Springs Gazette newspaper obtained recordings of some of the 911 calls.
Many of the callers told dispatchers they could see white smoke, black smoke and some saw flames.
"I just came around the corner and saw the smoke," one caller said. "I can see smoke billowing from the trees."
The Black Forest Fire started on June 11. The assessor's office said 486 homes were lost in the fire.
The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association said more than 3,630 home and auto claims have been filed.
Investigators have not released the cause of the fire.
Hear the 911 calls on the Colorado Springs Gazette's website: http://tinyurl.com/m87nmmx