By Blair Shiff
EL PASO COUNTY (KUSA) - The Waldo Canyon Fire has prompted more evacuations and may have burned several more structures Tuesday evening.
The following are the areas under mandatory evacuation:
Southern Mountain Shadows
Pine Valley Housing on the Air Force Academy
All residents need to evacuate immediately
Residents should proceed to the Fort Carson Special Events Center and bring as little baggage as possible.
Northern Mountain Shadows and Peregrine (north of Chuck Wagon, west of Centennial to Orchard Valley Road, and northwest of Orchard Valley Road to Woodmen Road)
Rockrimmon and Woodmen Valley, west and north of Woodmen Road and I-25 and west and north of Rockrimmon Blvd and Vindicator Drive.
Pinon Valley and Pine Cliff, west and north of Garden of the Gods Road and I-25 to Centennial north to Ute Valley Park.
9NEWS reporter Chris Vanderveen says several structures have burned in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood. Radio traffic indicates as many as 30 homes may have been lost. This information is still unconfirmed.
The Colorado Department of Transportation has closed the southbound lanes of I-25 at the Parkway exit to facilitate evacuees.
The mandatory evacuation order remains for all of Cedar Heights, Mountain Shadows and Peregrine. Residents are asked to leave the area immediately and may not return home.
Residents are being notified by automated calls and by uniformed police officers advising them of the mandatory evacuation.
The Red Cross Shelter at the Cheyenne Mountain High School is open. Residents can bring small caged pets and companion animals (cats & dogs) with them to the shelter. The Penrose Equestrian Center is sheltering large animals.
The Waldo Canyon Fire has burned 5,165 acres and is 5 percent contained as of Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday, firefighters attacked the Waldo Canyon Fire from the ground and went on the offensive. Tuesday was a very active day due to high temperatures and wind gusts. The weather conditions may have contributed to the movement.
Some El Paso County residents were allowed to return home Sunday after approximately 11,000 people were evacuated due to the fire. On Sunday afternoon, officials said the fire was burning towards Cedar Heights, Highway 24 and the Cascade area.
"[Monday was] a tough day ... tougher than [Sunday,]" fire information officer Greg Heule said. "Ninety degrees, 25 to 30 mph gusts are predicted. No cloud cover at all. It will be clear skies that will allow the fire to develop those columns and burn more intensely."
Many people are still evacuated due to the fire, as of Tuesday morning. Mountain Shadows residents were forbidden to make a trip home for half-an-hour on Tuesday due to increased fire activity. North Mountain Shadows and Peregrine (north of Chuck Wagon, west of Centennial to Orchard Valley Road, and northwest of Orchard Valley to Woodmen Road) is on mandatory evacuation notice as of Tuesday afternoon.
The fire is burning near Waldo Canyon off of Highway 24 in Pike National Forest. One structure was destroyed by the blaze.
About 600 people are working the fire just to the west of Colorado Springs.
As of Monday afternoon, officials say the fire had not crossed Highway 24. They said resources include heavy air tankers, single-engine air tankers and helicopters.
Despite not skipping over the highway, the fire did cross Rampart Range Road and into Queen's Canyon.
Garden of the Gods Park and Garden of the Gods Visitor Center are closed.
Highway 24 is closed west of Colorado Springs. In particular, westbound is closed near the west exit for Manito Springs, and eastbound is closed at the El Paso/Teller County Line near Crystola.
According to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, Sunday afternoon the Colorado Springs Police Department closed Cheyenne Canon Park and High Drive. Green Mountain Falls, Chipita Park, and Cascade - on both sides of Hwy 24 - are closed also.
The Red Cross opened a shelter for evacuees at Cheyenne Mountain High School, located at 1200 Cresta Road. Another shelter is located at Woodland Park High School at 151 N Baldwin St.
Small animals needing shelter can be taken to the Pikes Peak Humane Society at 610 Abbott Lane in Colorado Springs, or Bear Creek Veterinary Care at 960 Pico Point.
Large animals needing shelter can be taken to the Penrose Equestrian Center, located at 1045 W. Rio Grande Street in Colorado Springs.
The Red Cross is accepting monetary donations for those affected by the fire. Firefighters say they are very grateful that people are trying to help, but they cannot accept food from residents. If you want to support the firefighters, donate to the Red Cross or Goodwill.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The spread of the Waldo Canyon fire has forced the Postal Service to relocate postal operations for affected customers to pick up their mail. The decision impacts approximately 1130 Post Office Boxes and 850 street deliveries.
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