Jun 28, 2012 2:53 PM by David Ortiviz

Displaced residents wait as fire rages

Tens of thousands of Colorado Springs residents forced from their homes by a raging wildfire are taking refuge with friends or family and crammed into hotels and shelters.

Army troops are helping firefighters protect the U.S. Air Force Academy from encroaching flames.

The blaze was burning out of control early Thursday in the mountains and within Colorado's second-largest city, after more than 30,000 evacuees fled.

Shifting winds Wednesday challenged firefighters trying to contain the 29-square-mile Waldo Canyon blaze and extinguish hot spots inside Colorado Spring's western suburbs. The National Weather Service reported 60 mph winds and lightning above the fire Wednesday afternoon, but winds were calmer by nightfall.

Because of the intense flames and thick smoke, rescue workers aren't able to tell residents which structures were destroyed and which ones are still standing.

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