Flash Flood Watch issued July 20 at 4:05AM MDT expiring July 21 at 12:00AM MDT in effect for: Delta, Dolores, Eagle, Garfield, Gunnison, La Plata, Mesa, Montezuma, Montrose, Ouray, Pitkin, Rio Blanco, San Miguel
Residents in the Peregrine, Oak Valley Ranch, Woodmen Valley and Pinon Valley neighborhoods in Colorado Springs were allowed home Sunday night as firefighters continue to make good progress containing the Waldo Canyon Fire.About 7,000 people live in these neighborhoods. During a 2 p.m. news conference officials said that while residents can go back home, services to their homes will be limited.They will likely not have gas nor water service as utility workers repair lines damaged by the fire.Despite a red flag warning on Sunday, firefighters were able to make "good progress" on the fire, officials said.The Waldo Canyon Fire is 55 percent contained. It has burned 17,827 acres and killed two people.With most of the evacuations lifted, about 3,0000 people still remain displaced by the fire.
Click to see the current mandatory evacuation order map
Meanwhile, residents of the Mountain Shadows subdivision -- the neighborhood devastated by the Waldo Canyon Fire -- were briefly allowed back home on Sunday to survey the damage to their homes.Residents whose homes were not visibly damaged were able to enter their home, retrieve items, and were asked to take steps to secure their property, clean out refrigerators, etc.However, at 6 p.m. the mandatory evacuation order was re-established and all the residents were escorted out.Highway 24 is also now open, although officials have asked the public to avoid using the highway to keep it clear for fire trucks coming and going from the fire.Pikes Peak Highway will reopen Monday. Garden of the Gods park is now back open as are Ute Valley Park and Palmer Park, officials said.
Little growth was seen on the Waldo Canyon fire on Sunday as firefighters continued to make progress toward containment.Previously unburned islands within the fire perimeter became more active with the hotter and drier weather conditions and produced intermittent periods of smoke. Firefighters worked to secure the spot fire north of Rampart Reservoir. Crews are now working east from Rampart Reservoir along the north perimeter of the fire and into West Monument Creek.The north flank of the fire continues to have little growth with help from aircraft and retardant. A 50-acre island of unburned fuel west of the Air Force Academy was successfully burned out on Sunday to help secure the western perimeter of the fire. Dozers continue to make progress on a fire line along Mount Herman Road north of the fire and firefighters hope to have it completed this next week.About 1,580 personnel are working on the blaze with the help of 11 helicopters, 15 dozers, and 83 engines.
22 Burglary Reports At Evacuated Homes
To make matters worse, some evacuees who have already returned to their homes reported that their homes had been burglarized -- with cars, computers and jewelry stolen.Authorities said they have had at least 22 burglary reports so far. There are also 60 reports of evacuees' cars being broken into while they were staying at nearby hotels. Most of the cars were stuffed with evacuees' belongings.Some homes have also been damaged by first-responders checking to see if anyone was in the house.Bears are invading the Green Mountain area as well, authorities said. Because many evacuees left with little notice, windows were left open and now the scent of food rotting in refrigerators is attracting the bears.More than 150 National Guard soldiers and airmen are helping Colorado Springs police staff roadblocks and patrol streets around the evacuation zone. Police Chief Pete Carey said the presence of military personnel will allow his department to resume normal police work in the rest of the city. The 26-square-mile Waldo Canyon Fire has cost $11.1 million to fight. Investigators haven't been able to visit the area where the fire broke out on June 23 to determine the cause. Fire crews have estimated that they will have the fire completely contained by July 16.
Map Of Homes Destroyed, Damaged In Waldo Canyon Fire
GeoMAC Fire Map Updated From Overnight Infrared Info View Larger Map To see this map in movable Google Earth, change the source in the upper right of the map to "Earth."