POSTED: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 4:30pm
UPDATED: Thursday, June 28, 2012 - 4:34pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — After waiting for much of the week, hundreds of evacuated families in Colorado Springs learned that they no longer have homes.
"We now know that hundreds of homes have been destroyed," said Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach.
In one community at least 300 homes burned to the ground.
Even as the devastating news was being delivered, fire officials also said today- brings the most promising conditions for getting ahead of the fire.
"Today we're going to be incredibly aggressive - we have our first break," said Incident Commander Rich Harvey.
Fire crews, now numbering near 1500 switched from defense to offense for the first time in four days.
"As far as what's happening in the forest in the areas that we can't get to. It's going to be difficult. It's going to take time, there is going to be smoke and fire for quite some time," said Firefighter Trevor Leland.
For evacuees like Stephanie Kaufmann, this fire has been both an emotional and physical roller coaster.
"We evacuated a couple of days ago due to the smoke, came back and then we had to mandatory evac again, came to Monument now Monument is on pre-evacuation," said Kaufmann.
The Waldo Canyon fire is just one of the nine major wildfires burning throughout Colorado.
There are dozens of other fires burning in several other western states.
32-thousand residents remain evacuated, including the entire U.S. Air force Academy.
There is no timeline yet on when they will be able to return.