NIST: Burning homes ignited other burning homes in 2012 wildfire, hazard scale recommended

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado — A federal study has found that most homes destroyed by the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado Springs were ignited by other burning homes.

A study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology released Monday found that 48 homes destroyed in the Shadow Mountains subdivision were ignited directly by wildfire. The burning homes then created a "cascading" effect that destroyed 296 additional homes.

The study also found that overwhelmed firefighters were able to extinguish most of the homes they were able to reach and effectively contain the fire.

The NIST report recommends firefighters use a hazard scale to map high-risk areas in wildland urban interface communities to help improve fire suppression. The July 2012 fire killed two people, scorched 29 square miles and destroyed 344 homes.

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