As the Black Forest continues to blaze throughout the Colorado Springs, Colo., area, its flames have destroyed mor than 360 homes, making it, many believe, the most destructive wildfire in the history of Colorado.
According to the Los Angeles Times, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa held a news conference on Thursday to announce that the Black Forest Fire has now consumed more than 15,000 acres of Colorado Springs land as well as roughly 360 homes. Maketa says that the fire has now claimed the record for Colorado’s most destructive wildfire, topping last year’s Waldo Canyon Fire about 10 miles from Colorado Springs, a huge blaze that led to the deaths of two people and the destruction of 346 homes.
Maketa notes that the number of homes consumed by the wildfire more than tripled between Wednesday and Thursday. Wind gusts between 30-35 mph have flared the wildfire’s flames, and a long drought affecting the Colorado Springs region has exacerbated the problem.
"The wind is probably our No. 1 threat," Maketa said. "It has been a game changer. It was very dynamic. And winds today are supposed to pick up and continue on the next few days."
At the moment, no deaths have been reported from the Black Forest Fire, though one person has reportedly been missing during the blaze.
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The Colorado Springs Gazette reports that more than 41,000 Colorado Springs residents have already been evacuated from their homes. Currently, the Black Forest Fire appears to be moving south from the nearby town of Black Forest into the northernmost areas of Colorado Springs. Traffic is reportedly jammed throughout northern Colorado Springs as residents attempt to flee.
The Black Forest Fire has grown exponentially since it first began Tuesday afternoon just northeast of Colorado Springs. On Tuesday night, six homes were destroyed and roughly 2,500 people were evacuated. Currently, firefighters are unsure of its initial cause.