Fire that is currently ravaging the section of the Rocky Mountains running through Colorado Springs, Colo. could possibly delay this year’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb, still set for July 8, if the blaze progresses west.
The fire ignited last Saturday in a canyon nestled in the mountains just outside Colorado Springs and was thought to be under control until today. That, however, all changed with the wind over the last 24 hours, sending flames racing east toward the city, devouring houses and forcing thousands to evacuate.
“We are cautiously optimistic concerning the running of the 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on July 8 after an informative and thorough meeting this morning with Mayor Steve Bach and officials from the City of Colorado Springs. We are in consistent touch with these officials, and monitoring the constantly-developing situation related to the wildfires,” Tom Osborne, Pikes Peak Hill Climb CEO said.
On the opposite side, firefighters are working to contain the inferno along Highway 24, which is also the road relied on to reach the starting point of the Pikes Peak Hill Climb. Flames haven’t reached the Pikes Peak yet, but with the blaze proving unpredictable at best and storms forecasted for the next two days, there’s no telling what will happen.
“The fires have been backing downhill,” local fire information officer Norm Rooker said to KKTV of the fire around Highway 24, “but the winds have been pushing up the slope and where the winds push is the direction [the fire heads], especially when it lines up with the terrain.”
Those winds, as Rooker pointed out, are exactly what spread the fire quickly into residential areas, which suggests that the same thing could happen in the opposite direction to burn the Peak.
In the graphic to the right you can see where the fire is already burning and its progress per day. Highway 24 runs up and to the left and you can see how a jump over the road could put the race in jeopardy.
By no means should that downplay the issue at hand: nobody has been hurt so far but homes are being lost and lives destroyed. Out thoughts are with the affected residents.