COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – A raging Colorado wildfire destroyed an estimated 346 homes this week, making it the most destructive fire in the state’s history, officials said.

Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach said city officials assessed the damage and that the number was subject to change.

From above, the destruction wrought by the fire becomes painfully clear: Rows and rows of houses were reduced to ashes even as some homes just feet away survived.

On one street, all but three houses had burned to their foundations, said Ryan Schneider, whose home is still standing in a neighborhood where 51 others were destroyed.

“I was real happy at first. My wife was happy,” he said. “The emotion of seeing the other homes, though, was instant sadness.”

While the aerial photos helped show the scope of one of the worst fires to hit the American West in decades, they did little to help ease the concerns of many residents who still did not know the fate of their properties.

“Naturally, we’re apprehensive and the spirit is down a little bit,” Bill Bartlett said outside a Red Cross shelter in Colorado Springs.

Bartlett said he believes his neighborhood was spared, but couldn’t be sure.

Amid the devastation in the foothills west and north of the state’s second-largest city, there were hopeful signs. More than 120 soldiers helped stop flames advancing on the U.S. Air Force Academy and cooler conditions could help slow the spread of a fire that could become one of the most destructive in state history.

Authorities initially did not know the extent of the damage, saying it was difficult to assess because the fires and smoke were too intense. More than 30,000 people frantically packed up belongings Tuesday night as the flames swept through their neighborhoods.