“This is a firestorm of epic proportions,” Colorado Springs Fire Chief Richard Brown said at a Tuesday night briefing.
Evacuations have been issued for northwest Colorado Springs and parts of the Air Force Academy campus.
Multiple homes have burned in the Mountain Shadows community in the western foothills, fire officials said.
Officials would not provide an early estimate, but viewers who had relatives fighting on the front lines say that at least 100 homes have been destroyed.
Winds gusting to 65 mph blew the wildfire over containment lines into Colorado Springs on Tuesday afternoon.
The firestorm sent up a towering cloud of smoke that partially obscured the setting sun. By night, a huge orange ball of flames glowed in the foothills.
‘Block After Block’ Of Burned Homes
Gov. John Hickenlooper described flying over the burning devastation at night.
“We just flew over the fires, and we could see the path that they came down out of the hills. It was like looking at a military invasion,” he said.
“All the bright spots, as you got closer you saw they were people’s homes. They weren’t trees on fire, they were people’s homes, burned to the ground, block after block,” Hickenlooper said.
Officials said they have streets, but no specifics on addresses of homes burned.
One stunned fire official said he hadn’t seen such an inferno in his 30-year career.
“That fire exploded …far beyond what could have been predicted — 65 mph winds,” said Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach. “It’s an act of nature.”
The fire chief said the blaze forced its way into three different directions, as the winds changed directions three times.