Colo. wildfire still burning hot

Firefighters came face-to-face with flames that shot 100 feet into the air as a wall of fire barreled down the hills in Colorado Springs. NBC’s Miguel Almaguer reports.

The fast-paced Waldo Canyon Fire near Colorado Springs, Colo., may be more than half contained, but fire officials warn that it hasn’t run its course. Firefighters hope to have it completely contained by July 16, reported.

So far, the Waldo Canyon blaze – deemed the most destructive wildfire in Colorado state history – has burned nearly 18,000 acres and destroyed 346 homes, the television station reported. The cause of the fire, which started on June 23, is under investigation.

The fire is still active and the environment remains very dry, Bret Waters, emergency management director of Colorado Springs, told the Denver Post. About 3,000 people are still barred from returning home, he said.

Related: Colorado wildlife relief beginning of the long haul

Fire managers called the fire “incredible,” the Denver Post reported in another story. It has burned more than 1,500 degrees – that’s hotter than the Hayman Fire in 2002, which was Colorado’s biggest-ever wildfire in terms of acreage — and has moved very quickly.

Related: Scientists sorting out beetle-fire relationship

The heat radiating from the fire has cooked the area around it, making it easier for the fire to spread.

The worst fire season in recent history is taking its toll with large fires burning thousands of acres in Colorado while others consume areas in Montana, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming.

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The fire burned so hot at the northwest border of the fire that a window sill inside a home caught fire, the Post reported.

Rain is forecast but afternoon thunderstorms could counter the moisture by introducing more wind and lightning.

When a disaster strikes, the Red Cross breaks out a special tool to help catalog the damage and share information between the local police, fire departments and the national organization.

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