EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. –The Waldo Canyon Fire was still burning with 0 percent containment Sunday afternoon — with the nationally-renowned Garden of the Gods Park being affected by the blaze and major roadways less than four miles away from downtown Colorado Springs being shut down.
“This is probably the greatest natural threat we have ever seen in this community in the past 30 to 40 years,” El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said.
The fire has grown to 2,500 acres and has caused 11,000 evacuations. That massive evacuee number was expected to decrease — if only slightly — on Sunday night. Mantiou Springs residents, some of the first to be evacuated, are expected to be allowed to return home at 8 p.m.
Pre-evacuation notices were being issued for the Woodland Park subdivision around noon Sunday. The Colorado Springs subdivisions of Cedar Heights, Green Mountain Falls, Chipita Park and parts of Mountain Shadows remain evacuated, as well.
Highway 24 west of Colorado Springs remains closed at westbound at 31st St., approximately a 3.8 miles drive from downtown Colorado Springs. Eastbound, the roadway is now closed near Mtn. Glen Court. The Garden of the Gods, which has been closed, is just north of the westbound closure.
The shelter that was initial set up at Woodland Park High School Saturday has now been moved to Summit Elementary School in Divide, Colo. There is also an evacuation center at Cheyenne Mountain High School.