By ASSOCIATED PRESS
A towering Colorado wildfire destroyed dozens of houses overnight, though the intensity of the blaze kept officials Wednesday from being able to fully assess the damage to the state's second-largest city.
The fire, which doubled in size overnight to about 24 square miles, has forced mandatory evacuations for more than 32,000 residents, Colorado Springs emergency management director Brett Waters said. Among those urgently evacuated Tuesday evening were residents at the U.S. Air Force Academy.
Steve Cox, an aide to Mayor Steve Bach, said Wednesday morning that the blaze has consumed dozens of houses. A more precise figure wasn't available because of the intensity of the fire.
Gone with the wind: High winds push the Waldo Canyon Fire into the Garden of the Gods and Mountain Shadows neighborhoods in Colorado Springs, Colorado; three men capture the destruction with cameras and mobile phones
Watching as Rome burns: A man outside of Colorado Springs observes the blanket of smoke billowing out from Colorado Springs.
Different forms of devastation: Left, Susan Custer wears a mask as she checks on her sister's home, and right, a girl wipes away tears
Heavy smoke and ash billowed from the mountain foothills west of the city. Bright yellow and orange flames flared in the night, often signalling another home lost to the Waldo Canyon Fire, which is the No. 1 priority for the nation's fire-fighters.
'It was like looking at the worst movie set you could imagine,' Gov. John Hickenlooper said after flying over the 9-square-mile fire late Tuesday. 'It's almost surreal. You look at that, and it's like nothing I've seen before.'
Up in flames: An entire neighborhood burns near the foothills of Colorado Springs, Colo. on Tuesday, June 26
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