There were nearly 30 chickens, several hundred horses, a handful of cows and a couple calves, and many alpacas and miniature horses, according to the Elbert County Sheriff's Office. Assorted dogs, cats, goats and donkeys mingled with mules and llamas. Three stallions were there. And for good measure, one yak.
At least eight families also have taken refuge at the Elbert County Fairgrounds in Kiowa, the Denver Post reported, which is about 35 miles southeast of Denver.
Joanne Gaishin slept outside in her car after fleeing her home with 18 chickens and three turkeys. "I stayed in the front seat of my car with all of my fowl in there, with the roosters crowing in the morning," she told the paper.
'We have each other'
Paula Warren, one of thousands of residents forced to flee her home northeast of Colorado Springs, spoke about how difficult it was to leave and wonder if her home was all right.
"I thought I had about an hour, and it turned out to be about 20 minutes," she said. "I had a pillowcase full of socks, and that's basically all I have."
By Thursday afternoon, she got bad news. A friend called her to say that her home was on an online list of residences that had been designated as destroyed. Warren didn't know exactly where the friend had seen the information but she believed it to be true.
For a person who had just been told their home was gone, Warren had a cheerful attitude when talking with CNN, laughing and saying that she was just going to go back home when she could, hitch up a trailer on the property, live in that and rebuild her house.
Her home sat on five acres and she doesn't think the land has been damaged. "Trees are still standing," she said.
For now she and her two miniature horses are staying with a friend on the outskirts of Colorado Springs.
The animals have adjusted fairly well, she said.
"You can't just take 'em to a Motel 6," she said. "And my friend is very tolerant."
Like Warren, CNN iReporter Mike Schultz lost his home. He sent images of it burned to the ground, showing charred remains.
His wife, Caml Schultz, said their family was able to save only some photographs, paperwork and few items of clothes.
"But we have each other, and we're blessed. So many people have suffered loss, and so we're just thankful that we're here and safe and that we're loved, and that we have so many people that are willing to help take care of us," she said.
Working to protect homes
Sheriff Maketa praised the swift and strong help that civilian workers have been getting from National Guard and other military responders. Authorities said that they are watching neighborhoods and homes to do everything they can to keep them safe while combating the blaze.
Still, there have been losses.
Maketa said Thursday that 360 homes had been destroyed; another 14 were damaged.
Rose, the El Paso County spokesman, stressed later that those figures were preliminary, and said he would expect them to increase.