Authorities say some residents affected by Colorado’s worst wildfire in history will be able to return to their homes as early as Sunday morning, Reuters reports.
About 35,000 people were forced to leave their homes by the Waldo Canyon Fire, which was 45 percent contained as of Saturday night. The fire started a week ago, but became a major concern after Tuesday, when it was propelled by 65 mph winds into the Mountain Shadows subdivision in Colorado Springs. It has torn through almost 17,000 acres to date and is responsible for two deaths.
In his weekly radio address, President Barack Obama asked Americans to help those who lost their homes by making donations to the American Red Cross.
“We’ve got to make sure that we are there with them every step of the way,” said Obama, who pledged federal aid to the state after touring affected areas Friday. “Even after this fire is put out,” he said.
Steve Cox, assistant to Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, told CNN the city has organized bus tours for about 4,000 people from affected areas.
“You’ll be able to look at your property,” Cox said. “You’re not going to be able to get out and walk around the property because we’re still in an active fire situation.”
The city has also posted information on where residents can check in, and what items to bring once they get access to their homes.
One resident, Nicole Frye, filmed her evacuation from her home. In one clip posted June 30, which can be seen below, she says, “I’m leaving my house for probably the last time,” before sobbing “Oh my God” repeatedly.
Wildfire image, taken June 25, via Agence France-Presse