[UPDATE] Black Forest Fire Near Colorado Springs Damages Nearly 100 Homes, Thousands Evacuated

 @Keemohan
on June 12 2013 7:26 AM
Colorado Wildfires
A map of the areas affected by the Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs, Colo. El Paso Sheriff's Office

UPDATE as of 01:01 a.m. EDT: The Black Forest fire in Colorado had destroyed nearly 100 homes, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Thousands have been evacuated and up to 60 homes are believed to be destroyed or damaged in the wildfire that broke out in El Paso County on Tuesday, the The Denver Post reported.

The Black Forest fire broke out near Shoup Road and Highway 83 at around 1 p.m. local time, and as of Tuesday evening, the cause of the fire had not been determined, according to the Post.

The fire reached an estimated 8,000 acres on Tuesday evening and close to 60 homes were damaged or destroyed, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said.

Residents in areas surrounding Shoup Road, Fox Chase, Holmes Road, Hodgen, Burgess Road, Meridian, Vollmer, and Tahosa Lane were asked to evacuate from the fire zone.

But many chose to stay on, and as the fire progressed, law enforcement officers were attempting to get them out of their homes, shifting efforts from an evacuation to a rescue mission, Maketa told the Post.

"The weather is not working with us, but our guys are giving it a heck of a shot," he said.

He added that lack of manpower is a serious challenge, especially with two other fires –- near Mesa Verde National Park and in Rocky Mountain National Park -- also burning in Colorado.

The fire near Mesa Verde National Park had covered close to 3,000 acres by Tuesday evening, resulting in the evacuation of 200 people, NBC News reported, adding that another 800 more were being asked to leave.

The 16,000 inmates at the Territorial State Prison in Canon City will also be evacuated if the fire continues to spread, the report noted.

"It's certainly not out of the question that we'll be fighting this fire for another week," Gregg Goodland, a Royal Gorge fire spokesman, told NBC, referring to the Mesa Verde National Park fire. "This fire is not going to go away any time soon, especially under the dry conditions."

The fire burning in Rocky Mountain National Park covered an area of 400 acres in the first couple of hours, leading to the closure of five trails in the park. 

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