What happened after midnight with the Waldo Canyon Fire on June 24 is a good example of how quickly things can change. Where the wind was keeping the fire heading away from Teller County and, especially, Woodland Park on Saturday, a change in the wind sent plumes of smoke toward the northern section of the county.
The first message sent via Nixle at 1 p.m. on June 23 from the Teller County Sheriff’s Office read; “There is a wildland fire burning in the Waldo Canyon area of El Paso County. Heavy smoke is visible. There is no threat to Teller County at this time. The U.S. Forest Service is on the scene.”
However, by 10 a.m. on June 24 U.S. 24 was closed from 31st Street in Colorado Springs to Crystola in Teller County and at 11:31 a.m. June 24, the Nixle message read: “The southern area of Woodland Park Safeway to Crystola is on Standby to evacuate. This is based on the behavior of the fire. This includes areas of Woodland Park: Sunny Glen, Morning Sun, Paradise Valley, Kings Crown, Woodland Village Trailer Park and Walmart.”
The Red Cross evacuation center at Woodland Park High School in Woodland Park was moved to Summit Elementary School in Divide.
Weather hasn’t been providing any help. The forecast for the rest of the week call for record high temperatures, low humidity and unpredictable winds. Information about the Waldo Canyon Fire is available at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/2929/. Waldo Canyon Fire Joint Information Center telephone numbers are: 719-520-7183, 719-520-7069, 720-402-7935, 720-237-9947, 720-237-3417. For official Twitter updates: @epcsheriff and @springsgov. The Teller County Office of Emergency Management is updating its website with Nixle.com messages but for other information it is referring visitors to the inciweb website.
On the Springer Fire that started in Elevenmile Canyon on June 17 is now considered 100 percent contained. About 84 fire personnel will remain on that fire for mop-up.
For alternate routes between Colorado Springs and Teller County, visit Colorado Department of Transportation at www.cotrip.org or call 511.