COLORADO SPRINGS — A body has been found in a burned home in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood.
A second person is missing, Police Chief Peter Carey announced. He said the body was found at 2910 Rossmere St.
Earlier, Mayor Steve Bach told an afternoon news conference that 346 homes on 35 streets have been destroyed by the Waldo Canyon fire, making it the most destructive fire in Colorado history.
In a bit of good news, officials announced that a considerable number of evacuees would be allowed to return to their homes beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday. Evacuations are being lifted for an area west of Interstate 25 and south of Rockrimmon. Cedar Heights, Rockrimmon, Mountain Shadows and Peregrine remained on
Multimedia: Waldo Canyon Fire
- View aerial images of the Waldo Canyon Fire.
- View before and after images of fire damage in the Mountain Shadows subdivision.
- View a slideshow of the Waldo Canyon Fire.
- View a slide show of President Obama touring the Waldo Canyon Fire site.
- Watch video of the Waldo Canyon Fire.
- Watch raw video of a family escaping the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Police warned people to go home in an slow, orderly fashion. There was no estimate available on how many people were being allowed to go home.
At 8 p.m., officials also revised the fire's acreage to 16,750 and its containment to 15 percent.
Before the announcement, some 32,000 people remained evacuated in and around Colorado Springs. An aerial photograph of the Mountain Shadows neighborhood taken Wednesday showed houses, all of them inside the Colorado Springs city limits, reduced to charred rubble.
There will be meetings tonight at 8 p.m. with the impacted homeowners where they will be shown a map of the area. Buses will bring residents to the meeting from the evacuation centers.
Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey said he anticipates a spike in crime in affected areas. He confirmed one burglary arrest was made Thursday morning. He also noted that some reported damage could have been made by first-responders in their efforts to save lives and property.
"All over the city people have taken in strangers and friends
Lt. Jeff Kramer, an El Paso County Sheriff's Office spokesman, said Thursday the U.S. Forest Service is eager to get word from incident command so officials can get into the burn area and start the investigation. He says there is no indication at this time of arson.
Firefighters have a containment line around 10 percent of the burned area. No injuries have been reported.
Officials say 20,085 homes and 160 commercial building are threatened and are in the fire's path. The cost to date of the fire is $3.2 million.
Fire officials said higher humidity levels, some rain and less winds helped firefighters on Thursday.
"We made significant progress on the ground today," Jerri Marr, a U.S. Forest Service supervisor, told an afternoon news conference.
Today was the best day for weather since the fire started, she said. Firefighters made the most progress on the north and northwest side, where firefighters were on the ground.
U.S. 24 is closed from Cave of the Winds to the county line and will remain that way through the weekend. Garden of the Gods park, the Pikes Peak Highway and cog railroad and the
The communities of Cascade, Chipita Park Green Mountain Falls and Crystola are under mandatory evacuation orders, along with parts of northwest Colorado Springs, the Air Force Academy and unincorporated Teller County.
The Red Cross has set up evacuation centers at Lewis Palmer High School, 1300 Higby, Monument; Cheyenne Mountain High School, 1200 Cresta Road, Colorado Springs; Southeast YMCA , 2190 Jet Wing Drive, Colorado Springs; and Summit Elementary School, 490 Meadow Park Dr., Divide.
Diane Doren brought a map to Thursday morning's news conference. She can point to the exact dot that represents the Cascade home from which she evacuated Saturday.
"Huge, ugly, black clouds of smoke," Doren said. "When you step out of your front door and there's smoke, it's absolutely terrifying."
She has spent the last five days in a hotel rooming waiting for news and updated maps. Doren was evacuated during the Hayman Fire in 2002, and said the feeling of not knowing is all to familiar.
"Part of the frustration is knowing it's out of our hands," Doren said. "We're standing here watching and knowing it's up to someone else."
Doren's home is north of Highway 24 and about five miles from Manitou Springs. While she knows her home is still standing, she believes that the flames came within 300 feet of her back door.
Firefighters were on that line Saturday, and they are still working Thursday.
Incident commander Rich Harvey told the Thursday afternoon news conference that he's "feeling confident" with Thursday's minimum fire growth and firefighters in good positions.
More than 1,200 firefighters were working the fire Thursday, Harvey said. There were 27 crews and 73 engines, along with helicopters and plane.
"We have resources on this fire from an alphabet soup of agencies," he said. "Our resources have wheels, they have tracks, they have rotors, they have wings."
Denver Post staff writer Jordan Steffen contributed to this report.