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Waldo Canyon Fire Destroys 346 Homes Claims One Life [updated]

DVIDSHUB/Creative Commons

Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach delivered difficult news today, announcing that 346 homes have been destroyed on 34 streets by the Waldo Canyon Fire. The number eclipses the 257 homes burned in the High Park Fire, which was declared the most destructive in Colorado history.

Update 6:28am: The Colorado Springs Police Chief announced late Thursday that human remains were found in a home destroyed when the Waldo Canyon Fire spread into the Mountain Shadows neighborhood. A second person remains missing. The remains were found on Rossmere St. Some evacuations have been lifted as containment on the fire grows to 15%. President Obama will travel to Colorado Springs today to tour the fire. 

“It’s a preliminary number and subject to change,” he said during an afternoon media briefing. “As of tonight, that’s what we know. There’s more work to do.”

Bach says many affected homeowners will receive the news during a briefing tonight.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 personnel made good progress fighting the blaze on Thursday, particularly on the west and northwest perimeters, bringing containment to 10 percent. The fire is estimated at 18,500 acres.

An estimated 32,000 evacuees are still out of their homes. The orders have been a source of frustration for many, including one evacuated homeowner who crashed Thursday’s media briefing, asking to be allowed back into his house.

Some mandatory evacuations on the eastern parameter could be lifted later tonight.

The cause of the fire is unknown, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation has joined the effort to research what happened.

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