The area burning is in a dense Ponderosa forest known as the Black Forest. I never went around there when living in the Springs from 1992-96. But remember it as a kid (much earlier). It was really pretty. But you look at the maps and can see why all the houses there have been destroyed. The map that shows lost houses (http://gazette.com/article/1502250) is somewhat marred spatially because they used lot centroids rather than pinpointing the structures. When it’s all over, I’m going to suggest to their fire marshals (as well as “fire community” people I know) that when pre-mapping lots they have their GIS people identify the center of the largest visible structure. Why? Because when analyzing the data post-mortem or trying to educate the public it will show which structures were the most vulnerable.
Of course it isn’t as simple as saying, “Being right under the trees will guarantee destruction. Being in a clearing will not.” Embers travel for miles. And often it’s some structural or landscaping flaw, e.g. dry vegetation right up against the house and under the eaves that causes ignition. An informative public presentation would show time lapse fire and wind travel superimposed on aerial imagery, along with contextual images of damaged structures.
My condolences to anyone who has lost a home in that area.