The Waldo Canyon Fire has burned 3,600 acres in the foothills west of Colorado Springs, fire officials said Sunday night.
There was zero containment.
Earlier Sunday, evacuation orders were issued for about 11,000 people in western El Paso County, officials said.
But by 8 p.m. evacuations were lifted for the 5,000 residents of Manitou Springs.
At a Sunday afternoon news briefing, Manitou Springs Mayor Mark Snyder said the fire had not reached his city and no structures had been damaged.
The neighboring Crystal Park community remained under mandatory evacuation, officials said.
The fire was burning in the mountains of the Pike National Forest.
About 450 firefighters are battling the fire and their numbers are growing, fire officials said. The fire was also being attacked by three heavy air tankers, four single-engine air tankers, one large helicopter and one small helicopter, Four C-130 air tankers from Peterson Air Force Base will be over the Waldo Canyon Fire on Monday. They were being retrofitted for fire use Sunday.
Officials said they maintained a major objective of keeping the fire on the north side of Highway 24.
Mandatory evacuations started at 1 a.m. Sunday for everyone north of Manitou Avenue and officials started working their way south through the city.
In some neighborhoods, police cruisers rolled down streets, issuing the order to leave through a loudspeaker.
"Colorado Springs Police Department," an officer said. "This is a mandatory evacuation notice. Evacuate now."
Once evacuees left Manitou, they were not allowed to re-enter. Garden of the Gods Park and Garden of the Gods Visitor Center were also closed.
U.S. Highway 24 was closed from Colorado Springs at 31st Street to Woodland Park, due to the wildfire.
Cedar Heights, a gated community near U.S. 24 and Manitou Avenue, and Mountain Shadows south of Chuckwagon, are also under mandatory evacuation. Boundaries are Rampart Range Road and everything west of 30th and Centennial from Gateway Road north to Chuckwagon.
At 11:30 a.m. Sunday, the Teller County Sheriff's Office issued a pre-evacuation notice to residents south of Woodland Park and west to Edlowe Road, including all residents along both sides of Edlowe Road. That would be east of Safeway, north of Safeway to Rampart Range Road, south to Edlowe Road.
The fire also prompted evacuations on the west side of Colorado Springs.
There are no evacuation orders in place at this time for Mountain Shadows other than those south of Chuckwagon Road.
About 200 people from Glen Eyrie Conference Center were evacuated to the Woodmen Valley Chapel. Due to fire evacuation there are no services at either Woodmen Valley Chapel campuses.
Mandatory evacuations have also been extended to all of Green Mountain Falls, Chipita Park, and Cascade (on both sides of Hwy. 24).
Red Cross Evacuation Centers are at Woodland Park High School and Cheyenne Mountain High School.
The Red Cross has established a number for evacuees at 719-650-9132.
There are three community information lines, available 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. for people with questions about the fire. These numbers are to the joint information center: 719-520-7183, 719-520-7069, 720-402-7935, 720-237-9947 or 720-237-3417.
Penrose Equestrian Center is providing shelter for large animals evacuated from the fire area (1045 W Rio Grande St.) Pikes Peak Humane Society is providing shelter for smaller animals (610 Abbott Lane) Bear Creek Veterinary Care was providing shelter for smaller animals (960 Pico Point) but is NOW FULL.
The cause of the fire, which started around noon on Saturday, is under investigation.
Fire Fighting Efforts
The Waldo Canyon Fire is zero percent contained and no structures have been lost, as of early Sunday.
A Type I Team is expected to take over management of the fire early Monday morning. A Type 1 command is used in complex emergencies needing resources from multiple agencies.
The incident is currently under Unified Command with US Forest Service, El Paso County and City of Colorado Springs as the lead agencies.
Cooperating agencies include: El Paso County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, El Paso County, CSFD, CSPD, Colorado Springs Utilities, Green Mountain Fire Department, Cascade Fire Department, and Colorado State Forest Service.
Gov. John Hickenlooper told reporters Sunday morning that he has requested additional tankers.
"There are 70 helicopter and aircraft in the air over Colorado," he said. "Almost half the air resources in the entire country are in Colorado right now."
The aircraft are using the nearby Air Force Academy as a base of operations.
Fire engines will be staged in evacuated subdivisions for structure protection. CSPD and EPC Sheriff's Office are also in these areas for security and to staff closure points.
Waldo Canyon has also been evacuated. All hikers and traffic have been evacuated out of the Waldo Canyon area and away from access points. The public is asked not to drive to the area. Pikes Peak Hwy is also closed to the public.
CSFD is asking for the public not to call 911 to report this fire. They are responding to the fire and their emergency lines are being inundated with calls.
Citizens wanting to help, can make monetary donations to support fire fighting efforts to United Way, the Humane Society, Red Cross and Salvation Army.
A call center has been established to answer non-emergency questions regarding the Waldo Canyon Fire. That number is 719-955-0742.
Popular tourist attractions in the area, such as the Manitou Incline Railway and Cave of the Winds, were closed Sunday, due to the evacuation order.
View a live feed of the fire, as seen from Ute Pass here: http://bit.ly/MtEOd2 (Courtesy of UtePassCams.com)
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