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Waldo Canyon fire update: 90 percent contained, rains expected tomorrow

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The Fourth of July brought some good news for Colorado Springs, where the Waldo Canyon fire has been blazing for more than ten days: The firefighters have now reached 90 percent containment of the fire, and expect to have it completely contained by tomorrow.

This is an encouraging development, particularly since it comes on the heels of news that emergency teams have successfully contained the High Park fire and have nearly controlled the Flagstaff fire near Boulder as well.

According to an update posted last night on the federal InciWeb page devoted to the event, the Waldo Canyon fire is at 90 percent containment with the estimated containment date set for tomorrow.

And in an encouraging sign, the site says this will be the last evening update for the fire "unless significant events occur."

According to this latest announcement. the fire is at 18,247 acres now, up from 17,920 acres when we reported on the fire on Tuesday. If the containment continues as expected, though, that number should stop growing.

To date, 347 structures have been destroyed by the fire, and there have been five injuries.

The total cost for fighting the fire so far is $14,537,514. Damages are estimated at well over $100 million.

The InciWeb site reports that fire line rehabilitation and seeding was finished on all portions of the fire, except the northeastern corner near the Air Force Academy, which should be finished today. Crews are beginning work to replace damaged poles on the western perimeter of the fire, and no additional perimeter growth is expected.

Firefighters returned to their Colorado Springs camp last night and were greeted by several hundred people, cheering their efforts in time for July 4th festivities.

Rains are expected tomorrow -- but that isn't all good news. Officials are warning that with rain comes the threat of flash flooding, a risk that the Colorado Springs Gazette outlined yesterday. But at least with the increased fire containment and expected wet weather, many of the resources that have been concentrated in Colorado can be released to other fires burning throughout the country.

More from our News archive: "Waldo Canyon fire update: 70 percent contained, only 100 acres growth"

Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at Sam.Levin@Westword.com.

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