Home > climate, Waldo Canyon Fire > Waldo Canyon Fire: Composite Imagery

Waldo Canyon Fire: Composite Imagery

2012 June 26

KML link
Updated Jul 1 1400

This is my first KML hack. Composite imagery from infrared overflights which occur ~2300 every night. This mapping is published about 1100 every morning and is therefore 12 hours old when published and up to 36 hours old depending on when you view it.

Inciweb: Waldo Canyon Fire
CS Gazette
Weather Underground
CS Fire Scanner
Twitter: #WaldoCanyonFire
Nixle: Local Agency Alerts (WP)

Jun 26 1630: Mandatory evac in place as fire erupts over ridges north of the “Quarry” on the NW side of Colorado Springs (Mtn Shadows and Peregrine subdivisions). There is a second quarry north of that eruption, south of the Air Force Academy. Winds are gusting in WP to the E/ESE; if that wind is pushing as far the Springs, that is really pushing it hard over those ridges. The above map (as of Tues aft/eve) is way out of date – new fire today may be nearly twice what it was last night. Afternoon briefers declined to estimate current size.

Woodland Park under pre-evac on far south east and eastern edges.

Scanner 1724: All elements on Flying W pull out now, fall back position is Chipeta Elementary

Scanner traffic has gone wild. Fire units responding to *reports* of structure fires in the evac zone and being called back due the AOR for that belonging to the “wild fire.” In addition, there appears to have been a unrelated report on Mt Herman road (5-10 mi North of AFA). No confirmation to this last – I only heard one reference. (Confirmed to be vehicle dust at 1757)

Scanner 1745: All engines in MCI parking lot, be prepared to pull out to 30th and Garden of Gods. (note that is just the intersection immediately outside the parking lot). “City definitely losing structures”

Scanner 1748: “Zombie Apocalypse”

Scanner 1752: Heading to safety zone at 30th and Garden of the Gods.

News reporting cell lines getting jammed.

Twitter reports fire coming down the canyon behind Air Force Academy (Probably W Monument Creek on SW corner of AFA). If true, fire is in place to ‘pincer’ Mtn Shadows and Peregrine. The Air Force Academy itself is mostly one big woodlot.

Scanner 1805: Multiple structures on fire in Flying W.
Scanner 1817: Confirms. 7-8 Structures in one location.

Scanner 1846: Cutting utilities west of Centennial from Flying W to Alleghany (Flying W subdivision). Units need to refill east of Centennial.

Scanner 1900: WX reports winds slowing, gusts lower from an hour ago.

Scanner 1920: “Looking for savable houses”

Scanner 1922: Did I just hear 46 structures in a row on fire?

Press Brief 2100: 32000 evacuated in roughly 3-4 hours, no injuries.

News at 2200: You can hear boom after boom as housing power boxes explode.

News at 2209: Mandatory evacuation is West of I-25 south to Fillmore. Approx 10% of Colorado Springs on evac. Roughly 26000 people evac’ed in 4 hours; no injuries reported. (32K total evacs)

Jun 27



A lot of people are angry that the firefighters didn’t do enough; that the city didn’t do enough; that the state didn’t do enough; that the feds didn’t do enough. Why aren’t there more planes? Where is the military?

I’m not. I’m angry at the false sense of security that the has pervaded the press and community meetings. These are very similar conditions to the Hayman fire, which essentially burned until the “monsoons” came. Even the fire mgmt team admitted this one would as well. Yet, because of the “all is well” message, people were angry with the apparent disconnect: Why can’t we drive US24? When will you reopen it? When can we return to Mtn Shadows? And politicians were beginning to respond to that rather than telling their constituents to STFU. “Cave of the Winds may reopen Tue or Wed.” (Reality: fire crews at Cave of the Winds Tue aft). “We are looking at all options for US24” (Reality: Fire is blowing across the highway, crews are stomping out the embers; smoke is so thick in places, visibility is zero). “We will start allowing police escorts back into Mtn Shadows” (Reality: your subdivision will begin burning in less than 12 hours)

I’m really looking forward to the Pikes Peak Hill Climb!

And money is a large part of what is driving this over-confident facade. Don’t scare away the tourists. Tourism is a five million dollar a day industry in the city. CoSprings mayor was on air last night explaining there is no need to use the World Arena as an evac center; why cancel a show? The governor is now telling the world that Colorado remains open for your vacations; no more than 4% of our campgrounds have been closed.

So sure – come on out here on vacation. I just hope that you have booked your hotel in advance. There are no more rooms in the inn. Perhaps I can interest you in this shed out back … or maybe the ballroom floor.


Throughout the West, firefighters have toiled for days in searing, record-setting heat against fires fueled by prolonged drought. Most, if not all, of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana were under red flag warnings, meaning extreme fire danger.

The nation is experiencing “a super-heated spike on top of a decades-long warming trend,” said Derek Arndt, head of climate monitoring at the National Climatic Data Center.

USA Today

Source: Mike Higgins

Someone has the IR maps in play

0800 brief: 15324 acres (more than 3x from brief 24 hours ago)

Jun 28

Evac’ed yesterday. Some media apparently misreported that all of Woodland Park was under mandatory evac. Both my wife and one of my neighbors reported that. I noted that no SMS alert had been issued. Regardless, we decided to use this as the “go” indicator. (We had been planning on leaving later that afternoon or early evening anyway).

Now that I am out, I will be addressing issues reestablishing my little family. So I am off the scanner and news for a while. Will continue updating the map when I can get to it. Might be difficult from work – security restrictions may not make it possible for me to do so during working hours.

Yesterday, was a lot more calm as far as the fire goes. It filled in missing patches on the southern face, but US24 is holding. They are holding the line along the road that comes out of the SW corner of Rampart Reservoir and reinforcing lines up from Green Mountain Falls. If those lines hold, Woodland Park will no longer be at risk. The section NE of Rampart Reservoir more than doubled in size yesterday, but is still relatively small compared to the fire as a whole. But if this continues to grow, the fire could double in size on the north edge before coming up onto Carrol Lakes, some dirt forest roads, and some utility lines and break fires. It could also come down the western edge of the Air Force Academy.

To the east of Rampart Reservoir, the fire crew seem to be having success keeping the fire out the canyon of West Monument Creek. But it continues to grow around Blodgett Peak just west of Peregrine subdivision and SW of the Air Force Academy. Other than that, the fire was contained along the western edge of Colorado Springs, the eastern edge of the fire.

And in the middle of that fire, Eagle Camp / Palmer Reservoir remains unburned. Acreage as of last night estimated at 18500 16750. 32000 evacuees (might not even include those like me that are voluntary evacuees from a pre-evac zone).

Friday, Jun 29

Fire growth well contained yesterday. Some more “filling-in” burn on southward edge. Fire continues pushing against Cascade, burning new area just outside the city. Very little growth on western edge, but some new spots flaring up outside the previous day’s edge. The SW corner of Rampart Reservoir holding well. “There has been a maximum effort to contain the spotfires north of Rampart Ridge Reservoir.”. West Monument Creek holds. Small changes on the NE, with fire zones just to the south of Blodgett Peak linking up. East edge of the fire (western Colorado Springs) very stable with no new burns mapped. Fire burns very slowly down into what remains of Queen’s Canyon. Eagle Camp/Palmer Reservoir continues to be held.

Slowest day of growth so far.

Sat Jun 30

Came back up to WP today. They had a power outage this am. Could be unrelated to the fire; we had a similar outage about 3 weeks ago. At my normal gas stn, half the pumps had out-of-order signs; the other half were on prepay. Pulled my slash pile out. My son and a friend of his, a guy on mandatory evac, were racking out the front “wild”. Set some sprinklers. Updated maps.

Probably will have my wife join me tomorrow. Then I’ll stay down the hill two nights next week to make commuting possible. Maybe US24 will open next week, but I’m not planning on it.

This morning’s brief indicated that they have line around the fire NE of Rampart Reservoir. Great news if it holds. Amazingly, they have held the fire off of W Monument Creek with nothing more aerial strikes. The latest map is time stamped 1000 Jun 29 – not sure why the pattern has changed. Many evacuees being allowed back to their residences now – maybe as many as 20000 out of the 32000 on evac by Wed. Fire at 17073 acres including a controlled burn on the western edge. Two dead; perhaps 10 missing.