Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content WILDFIRE ROUNDUP: Blaze in Huerfano County destroys Boy Scouts camp

The Gazette - Updated: June 20, 2013 at 7:59 am

THURSDAY MORNING UPDATE

Wildfires burning across Colorado:

East Peak fire

A fire near the Spanish Peaks in rural Huerfano County in southern Colorado led to mandatory evacuations Wednesday night.

The East Peak fire destroyed a Boy Scout camp late Wednesday and some homes. Flames were reaching 150 to 200 feet into the air, according to the sheriff's office, The Denver Post reported.

The American Red Cross opened an evacuation shelter at John Mall High School, 355 W. Pine St, Walsenburg.

Bull Gulch fire

A fire sparked Wednesday north of U.S. 50 on BLM-managed lands, about one mile east of Table Mountain, and about nine miles northwest of the intersection of Road Gulch and Copper Gulch Road, according to the Canon City Daily Record.

The Bull Gulch fire is estimated to be 50 acres in size and zero-percent contained. The fire is burning in brush, piñon and juniper trees. Eight smokejumpers and two 20-person firefighting crews will work through the night. Two single-engine air tankers worked Wednesday dropping retardant over the fire.

No structures have been lost and the fire's cause is not yet known.

Lime Gulch fire

A fast-moving, unpredictable wildfire forced more than 100 people to evacuate their homes on Wednesday afternoon, according to The Denver Post.

The fire was originally reported as the Chair Rock fire, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, but it was later clarified that the fire was named the Lime Gulch fire.

At 6:45 p.m., the U.S. Forest Service estimated the fire at 500 acres.

At a 6 p.m. news conference, Sheriff Ted Mink said all residents had been accounted for. No structures are currently threatened.

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WEDNESDAY

Two lightning-sparked fires in the San Juan Mountains have grown to 3,280 acres, forcing emergency crews to rescue 13 backcountry campers by helicopter and deploy crews to protect the Wolf Creek Ski Area.

The West Fork fire was started by lightning June 5 and continues to spread in beetle-killed spruce forests high in the Weminuche Wilderness Area, Colorado's largest wilderness. No structures have been destroyed.

Area campgrounds remain open, though the West Fork Trail (Trail No. 561), a popular trail that goes to the backcountry pools known as Rainbow Hot Springs, is closed.

Wildfires around the state can cause smoky conditions in neighboring communities, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment advises residents to stay indoors if condition deteriorate. Late Wednesday, El Paso County was draped in smoke, most likely from the Lime Gulch fire in Jefferson County. The Black Forest fire was 95 percent contained and was expected to produce only light smoke.

A 164-acre fire was started by lightning June 14. Known as the Windy Pass fire, it is burning 3 miles south of the ski area. Firefighters are building lines to protect the ski area.

U.S. Highway 160 over Wolf Creek Pass remains open.

Also, according to the Denver Post, a fire burning in south Jefferson County forced evacuations Wednesday. The Lime Gulch fire was estimated at 500 acres, closing Foxton Road at U.S. 285.

The U.S. Forest Service said the blaze is burning in "in Douglas-fir and heavy ground cover" and was making "crown runs," meaning that occasionally it is flaming from tree to tree high above the ground.

The agency has called two Initial Attack (IA) crews, and aerial help from two slurry bombers and a helicopter.

A 25-acre fire is burning in Fremont County north of Highway 50 on BLM-managed lands, approximately one mile east of Table Mountain, and about nine miles northwest of the intersection of Road Gulch and Copper Gulch Road.

The fire started burning Wednesday in brush, pinon and juniper trees. The Bull Gulch fire had grown to 50 acres as of Wednesday night. Eight smokejumpers and two 20-person hand crews were expected to remain on scene throughout the night, working to contain the fire. Two Single Engine Airtankers dropped retardant on the fire Wednesday afternoon.

No structures have been lost and no evacuations are in place. There are no closures.  The fire's cause is not yet known. A Red Flag warning has been issued for the fire area Thursday.

Sheriff's officials say a wind-driven wildfire about 20 miles southeast of Rangely has prompted the evacuation of a youth camp as a precaution.

Rio Blanco County Undersheriff Michael Joos says about 40 kids and half a dozen adults were asked to leave Wednesday afternoon. He says the camp is in no immediate danger but was evacuated due to high winds. No other evacuations were immediately ordered.

The Bureau of Land Management says smokejumpers were called to the scene but were grounded by high winds.

The area has several oil and gas facilities. The BLM says the fire also is threatening structures to the north.

Another fire near the Spanish Peaks in rural Huerfano County in southern Colorado led to mandatory evacuations Wednesday night.

The Scout Ranch fire or East Peak fire destroyed a Boy Scout camp late Wednesday and some homes. Flames were reaching 150 to 200 feet into the air, according to the sheriff's office, The Denver Post reported.

The American Red Cross opened an evacuation shelter at John Mall High School, 355 W. Pine St, Walsenburg.

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Gazette reporter R. Scott Rappold contributed to this story.

 

 

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