They were describing it as “epic”. Now the term being used by Colorado Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown for the blaze slowly engulfing his town is “monster”.
Gusting prairie winds have swept the Waldo Canyon fire into the state’s second largest city and the US Air Force Academy is also under threat.
The latest figure for the number of people evacuated was 35,000 and rising.
President Barack Obama is due in Colorado Springs on Friday to view the damage and boost morale among the army of firefighters trying to bring the blaze under control.
The number of properties destroyed is already being counted in the hundreds. Those not yet forced to leave their homes are doing their best to protect them from what are turning out to be some of the worst fires the American west has seen in decades.