Wildfire Continues to Menace Colorado Neighborhoods

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The raging wildfire in Waldo Canyon continues to menace Colorado Springs Thursday.

High winds have been carrying embers into Colorado neighborhoods and setting homes on fire.

"This is an active fire. It's not even remotely close to being contained," Colorado Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown said.

More than 30,000 residents have been forced to evacuate their homes.  Most were given just five minutes to grab what they could and get out.

Showers of ash fell from the sky as drivers looking to escape were gridlocked in traffic.

Click play to watch an updated report from CBN News Senior Editor John Waage, followed by comments from Ron Hall of Samaritan's Purse, which is working to help vicitims of the wildfire.

"We saw fire coming down the road," one woman who fled in her car recalled.

Evacuee Susan Richards said, "You see the smoke flowing and the ashes falling, it was pretty scary. I wasn't panicked, but I was scared."

"You couldn't see sun anymore ache falling out," evacuee Paul Jones said. "It's just just the scariest thing I've ever seen."

Evacuees are taking refuge with family or friends. They crammed into hotels and shelters as Army Troops helped protect the U.S. Air Force Academy from encroaching flames. The fire burned about 10 acres along the southwest boundary of the Air Force Academy campus.

Ministries Take Action

The Red Cross has been accommodating victims in its shelters with enough space for about 2,500 people.  Ministries in the region are also providing support.

Focus on the Family, which is located in Colorado Springs, is one such ministry.

"Just watching the way the Colorado Springs community has really come around the evacuees and come around the firefighters really exhibiting what Jesus commands us to do, to love our neighbors as ourself,"  Focus on the Family Publicist Carrie Kintz told CBN News.

"Whether it's volunteering at a food bank (or) donating thousands upon thousands of pounds of food and water, it's just been a huge blessing to watch this community rally around its own and make sure that people are taken care of and have place stay," she said.

Damages from the wildfire are estimated at $30 million, but the total is expected to go much higher.

The blaze is only one of many wildfires burning across the West.

White House officials said President Obama will tour fire-stricken areas of Colorado on Friday and thank firefighters battling some of the worst fires to hit the American West in decades.

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Charlene  Aaron

Charlene Aaron

CBN News Reporter

Charlene Aaron serves as a general assignment reporter and helps anchor for the CBN News Channel.  Follow her on Twitter @CharNews and "like" her at Facebook.com/CharleneIsraelCBNNews.