EL PASO COUNTY, Colo — Five years ago Friday, the Waldo Canyon Fire began burning in the foothills just west of Colorado Springs.
By the time it was fully extinguished weeks later, it had become the second most destructive fire in the state’s history.
On June 23, 2012, what started as smoke on the Waldo Canyon Trail near U.S. Highway 24 quickly grew into an inferno.
The Waldo Canyon Fire took two lives, destroyed 346 homes and burned more than 18,000 acres.
When people returned to the Mountain Shadows neighborhood, Fire Chief Ted Collas with the Colorado Springs Fire Department says it was a heartbreaking experience.
“I can tell you that every firefighter across Colorado Springs wanted to be there that day, they wanted to help,” said Collas.
The fire was fully contained on July 10 and resulted in insurance claims totaling more than $453.7 million.
The cause is still unknown.