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10 years ago, one of state's worst wildfires sparked near Colorado Springs

The Waldo Canyon Fire started on June 23, 2012, and became the state's most destructive wildfire ever at that time.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Ten years ago, on June 23, 2012, smoke was spotted around the lunch hour on a mountainside above a Colorado Springs neighborhood.

Within an hour, roads were shut down, the first evacuation orders went out and the fire had a name: the Waldo Canyon Fire.

That wildfire that sparked near Waldo Canyon Trailhead off Highway 24 grew to become one of the most destructive in Colorado history.

> Video above: Colorado Springs to be split into 200 evacuation zones. Here's why that matters.

It burned through the wildland-urban interface and into the City of Colorado Springs. When the fire was finally contained after 18 days, it had charred 18,247 acres, destroyed 347 homes and damaged many others.

Two people – William Everett, 74, and his wife Barbara, 73 – died. Their remains were found in their home in the Mountain Shadows neighborhood two days after winds pushed flames into that area.

In the first hours of the fire, about 1,050 homes were evacuated. The evacuations peaked four days later on June 27 at 32,000.

Video below: Five years after the Waldo Canyon Fire:

The worst day was June 26, 2012.

On that day, Colorado Springs had a record high temperature of 101 degrees. Wind gusts reached 65 miles per hour in spots – and ever so slowly, the blaze began advancing on three neighborhoods.

On June 29, President Obama arrived in Colorado Springs to visit burned neighborhoods, thank firefighters, and visit a Red Cross evacuation center.

The fire was finally contained on July 10, 2012.

Thousands of firefighters were called to battle the blaze, and though this part of the story was over, there were still concerns about mudslides and flooding along the burn scar.

What caused the Waldo Canyon Fire is unknown, but investigators say people were responsible.

>Below: People who rebuilt after the Waldo Canyon Fire want Marshall Fire victims to know it's not hopeless:

RELATED: Colorado Springs to be split into 200 evacuation zones; Here's why that matters

RELATED: Neighbors form advocacy group after Marshall Fire

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SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Wildfires in Colorado


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