Firefighters on Saturday continued to battle two wildfires in Colorado, the High Park Fire in Teller County and the Ute Pass fire near Durango. The distant fires started on Friday and both involved evacuations of residents.
Firefighters in Colorado Springs on Saturday put out a grass fire near the Colorado Springs Airport.
High Park fire
The High Park fire has burned more than 1,000 acres and is 10% contained, fire officials said. Firefighters on Saturday carried out water and retardant drops on the fire from the air, in support of ground crews, focusing resources in the Lakemoor and Fourmile Creek areas.
The wind-driven fire is burning through ponderosa pine and grass on a ridge with High Park Road to the west and steep, rocky terrain with dense fuels along Fourmile Creek to the east, according to the fire command.
On Friday the Teller County Sheriff’s Office issued evacuation orders for Lakemoor, Cripple Creek Ranches and the Mount Pisgah area. Pre-evacuation status is in effect for Rhyolite Mountain Mesa, Monarch, and Lost Canyon. Several road closures are in effect in the fire area. An evacuation center has been set up at Woodland Park High School. Livestock can be sheltered at the Cripple Creek Fairgrounds.
Red flag warning fire conditions were posted on Saturday by the National Weather Service for the area as winds gusted to around 35 mph and relative humidity was in the single-digit range. The warning was set to expire at 8 p.m. Saturday. Teller County is under Stage 2 fire restrictions — building, maintaining, attending, or using any fire is prohibited, including camp fires and recreational fires.
Local, state and federal firefighters, about 150 overall, are working on the fire. Air planes, helicopters and engines are being used to suppress the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team 1 is overseeing command of the fire.
Ute Pass fire
The Ute Pass fire, northeast of Durango, has burned about 30 acres and is about 10% contained, according to fire officials.
About 60 homes in the Ute Pass subdivision were ordered to evacuate on Friday. The order has since been lifted, but residents are on pre-evacuation alert. A stretch of Ute Pass Road, from Florida Road to County Road 240, remains closed. About 50 members of the Durango Fire Protection District and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention are working on the fire.
A large air tanker and two helicopters worked on the fire on Friday. The helicopters continued drops on Saturday and the air tanker was on standby. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Durango Interagency Type 3 Team is managing the fire.
Grass fire in Colorado Springs
Firefighters with the Colorado Springs Fire Department doused a grass fire on Saturday near the Colorado Springs Airport. The fire burned about 5 acres and several roads around the airport temporarily closed.
— CSFD PIO (@CSFDPIO) May 14, 2022
Multiple crews responded to the fire, CSFD said on Twitter at 2:43 p.m. Firefighters said the grass fire was knocked down at 3:31 p.m. firefighters remained on scene “mopping up hot spots” and patrolling the fire area. The cause of the fire is under investigation.