June 26, 2012
Colorado Wildfires Threaten Navigators' Camps
Well-known Glen Eyrie castle evacuated; camp horses allowed to run free.
Among the Colorado wildfires drawing national attention today, the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs poses an immediate threat to the Navigators’ Glen Eyrie Conference Center and Eagle Lake Camp properties. The blaze, which has spread over 5,000 acres in three days, was only at 5 percent containment today, reports ABC News Colorado.
Hundreds of workers are currently on the ground battling the blaze, which has burned down an Eagle Lake tent platform and come dangerously close to its barn, auto shop, and maintenance director’s home.
“They’ve been praying God would raise walls of protection around the camp,” said Melissa Anderson, a 24-year-old Glen Eyrie resident and friend of Eagle Lake’s maintenance directors. “Apparently, the fire went through the barn area and auto shop and came all the way up to their house, where the firefighters are fighting it off now. They're trying hard to save the camp and the buildings.”
Fortunately, there were no campers Saturday when the blaze broke out, as the camp is now surrounded on three sides by walls of flame. The horses on Eagle Lake property were set loose to run free for fear the flames and smoke would eventually consume them, and the fire currently looms on the lip of the canyon above the Glen Eyrie property.
Though the fire hasn’t yet reached Glen Eyrie, Anderson was evacuated with her sister and 6,000 other El Paso County citizens Saturday, shortly after the fire was first announced.
“The fire started around noon Saturday, and within 40 minutes of the initial announcement we had to leave,” Anderson said. “It was a quick turnaround. We just started throwing random things in tubs, got in my car, and left.”
High winds pose a significant challenge to the fire’s containment, but firefighters are currently on the ground at Eagle Lake and throughout El Paso County, fending off flames that threaten to consume the camp and surrounding woodlands.
“We’re staying with friends in Colorado Springs, and you can see everything –- even the water getting sprayed,” Anderson said. “You can see the flames moving across the ridge -- it’s spreading like crazy.”
Evacuated Navigators employees are currently working out of Focus on the Family’s offices, located several miles northeast of the blaze. The cause of the fire is still unknown, though some sources on the ground suspect arson (ABC News & Paul Asay, CT contributor).