As thick clouds of smoke rise above a raging wildfire in northern Colorado, worried residents are hoping against hope that a doubling in the number of fire engines battling the blaze Wednesday will stop it in its tracks.
The High Park wildfire has already claimed one life and forced thousands from their homes as its flames have licked inexorably across more than 43,300 acres.
Officials reported some progress Tuesday, when 40 fire engines and 17 fire crews battled the blaze and were able to get it 10% contained.
And on Wednesday, the team fighting the blaze will grow to 100 engines and 34 crews, said Bill Hahnenberg, an incident commander.
But thousands of families who have been urged to evacuate face a tough choice.
Mark Engle said that despite the risk he may want to wait it out.
He saw the thick smoke billow through the air outside his Colorado home on Tuesday. From a window, he watched deer grazing in his backyard, driven out of the forest by flames that have devoured thousands of acres of land only a few miles away. His children's backpacks were placed by the door, stuffed with their favorite toys.
His family was packed and ready to leave in a hurry, Engle said.
But they want to stay put, even though authorities have ordered residents in the area to clear out.
"There's a number of people like myself, (for whom) packing up and leaving when you have livestock and animals just isn't as easy as if you have just a house," Engle said.
First measured at two acres early Saturday, the High Park Fire -- which officials say was caused by lightning -- has grown exponentially in the time since, burning 43,372 acres in and around the city of Fort Collins and leaving one person dead. Dozens of structures have been destroyed.
But fire officials had some positive news Tuesday.
"We have made some progress on this fire, we are at 10% containment," Steve Segin, of the Rocky Mountain incident team, said Tuesday evening. "That is where it starts and every day the containment number is going to go up."
President Barack Obama telephoned Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday and said his administration is already making personnel, equipment and federal grants available to the state to help in the effort.
The huge plumes of smoke from the High Park fire are visible from miles away, casting a somber shadow even over communities well out of the danger zone.
CNN iReporter Dave Thrush, a musician from Denver, posted dramatic pictures of smoke darkening the skies above Colorado State University campus on Sunday.
"The fire is 20 miles from the campus so no one is in danger there but the billowing smoke is still very eerie," he wrote.
Another CNN iReporter, goodline69, a restaurant server in Lafayette, Colorado, told CNN on Monday: "It was a beautiful day in Fort Collins with business as usual for many, it seemed, so it was a bit surreal to be watching homes being destroyed from across the reservoir.
"I found myself watching the crowd watch the fire. Heartbreaking."