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Wildfire victims crowd shelters as fight continues

June 28, 2012 • National News


In this Tuesday, June 26, 2012 photo, Tayor Salamon, 11, holds his dog in the back seat of the car as his family rushes to leave their home in Colorado Springs, Colo. A towering wildfire destroyed dozens of houses overnight, though the intensity of the blaze kept officials Wednesday from being able to fully assess the damage to the state’s second-largest city. (AP Photo/The Denver Post, RJ Sangosti) MAGS OUT; TV OUT; INTERNET OUT

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Fire crews fought to save the U.S. Air Force Academy and residents begged for information on the fate of their homes Wednesday after a night of terror sent thousands of people fleeing a raging Colorado Springs wildfire.

More than 30,000 have been displaced by the fire, including thousands who frantically packed up belongings Tuesday night after it barreled into neighborhoods in the foothills west and north of Colorado’s second-largest city. With flames looming overhead, they clogged roads shrouded in smoke and flying embers, their fear punctuated by explosions of bright orange flame that signaled yet another house had been claimed.

“The sky was red, the wind was blowing really fast and there were embers falling from the sky,” said Simone Covey, a 26-year-old mother of three who fled an apartment near Garden of the Gods park and was staying at a shelter. “I didn’t really have time to think about it. I was just trying to keep my kids calm.”

Wilma Juachon sat under a tree at an evacuation center, wearing a mask to block the smoke. A tourist from California, she was evacuated from a fire near Rocky Mountain National Park last week and, now, from her Colorado Springs hotel.

“I said I hope it never happens again, and guess what?” Juachon said.

Constantly shifting winds challenged firefighters trying to contain the 24-square-Mile Waldo Canyon blaze and extinguish hot spots inside the Login to read more

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