Editor's note: Yahoo News is publishing residents' accounts of the wildfires burning in Colorado this week. Here are photos and dispatches from one resident.
FIRST PERSON | COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- On Thursday, day three of the Black Forest fire, I woke up to what can only be described as a "campfire smell." The sound of planes and helicopters has died down somewhat. I immediately turned on the television to view the latest status. The battle against the fire was raging on.
By Friday morning, 15,700 acres had burned and 360 homes were lost. Two people are reported dead. The Black Forest fire is now the worst blaze in Colorado history.
It's only a matter of time before the winds pick up again, and the hectic pace ramps up even further. A DC-10, C-130, and a handful of tanker planes are flying overhead. Several small helicopters and Chinook helicopters are buzzing by with huge buckets of water. The feeling in the air is surreal, like being part of a Hollywood movie shooting a war scene. Lines of traffic are backed up for miles with residents trying to leave evacuation zones. Dozens of police cars drive down the roads at high rates of speed, their lights on and sirens blazing. Firefighters, police officers, and national guardsmen are rushing about trying to control the massive blaze while at the same time managing scared homeowners and spectators. The feeling in the community is that the fire will not stop until the entire Black Forest area has completely burned to the ground. Highway 83 has become the definitive boundary, where firefighters need to draw the line or risk letting it potentially access thousands more homes -- including my own.
By Thursday evening, there was only 5 percent containment. However, according to incident commander Rich Harvey, they have managed to keep it at a "draw."
The neighborhood next to mine has been evacuated. The roads going into the neighborhood are devoid of traffic and police roadblocks have been setup to deny entry into the area. Our own neighborhood is crawling with men and women in blue who are ready at a moment's notice to evacuate us. We have been packing on and off all day. We jammed our important documents, mementos, and clothes quickly into luggage bags.
At this point, it's a waiting game for us and all we can do is find faith in the brave men and women who are giving their all to stop the fire.
If you are interested in reading about my Day 1 and Day 2 experiences, please visit Yahoo News at the following link: http://news.yahoo.com/first-person-ready-evacuate-black-forest-fire-030800768.html
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