On Saturday, firefighters continued to fight two wildfires in Colorado, the High Park fire in Taylor County and the Ute Pass fire near Durango. The distant fire started on Friday and both involved the evacuation of residents.
In Colorado Springs, firefighters extinguished a grass fire near the Colorado Springs airport on Saturday.
high park fire
Fire officials said the High Park fire has burned more than 1,000 acres and is 10% contained. Firefighters pulled out water and diluent droplets on fires from the air, in support of ground crews, on Saturday focusing resources in the Lakemoor and Formeal Creek areas.
According to Fire Command, the wind-driven fire is burning through ponderosa pine and grass on a ridge along High Park Road to the west and steep, rocky terrain with dense fuel along Fourmile Creek to the east.
On Friday, the Taylor County Sheriff’s Office issued evacuation orders for the Lakemoor, Cripple Creek Ranch and Mount Pisgah areas. Pre-clearance conditions are in effect for Rhyolite Mountain Mesa, Monarch and Lost Canyon. Several roads are closed in the fire zone. An evacuation center has been established at Woodland Park High School. Livestock can be sheltered at the Cripple Creek Fairgrounds.
Red flag warning fire conditions were posted Saturday by the National Weather Service for the area as winds were gusts at about 35 mph and relative humidity was in the single-digit range. The warning was supposed to end at 8 pm on Saturday. Taylor County is under Stage 2 fire restrictions – building, maintaining, participating in or using any fire, including camp fires and recreational fires, is prohibited.
Local, state and federal firefighters, about 150 in total, are working on the fire. Airplanes, helicopters and engines are being used to put out the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation. Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team 1 is commanding the fire.
Ute Pass Fire
According to fire officials, the fire at Ute Pass, northeast of Durango, has burned about 30 acres and about 10% have been brought under control.
On Friday, about 60 houses in the Ute Pass subdivision were ordered to be evacuated. The order has since been lifted, but residents are on pre-evacuation alert. A portion 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 to fall on Saturday as well and the air tanker was on standby. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Durango Interagency Type 3 team is dousing the fire.
Grass Fire in Colorado Springs
Colorado Springs Fire Department firefighters extinguished a grass fire near the Colorado Springs airport on Saturday. About 5 acres were burnt by the fire and several roads around the airport were temporarily closed.
— CSFD PIO (@CSFDPIO) 14 May 2022
Several employees reacted to the fire, with CSFD saying on Twitter at 2:43 p.m. that firefighters said the grass fire was under control at 3:31 p.m., firefighters were “cleaning up hot spots” and the fire were patrolling the area. The cause of the fire is under investigation.