Woodland Park residents were under pre-evacuation orders Friday night after a fire broke out off Rampart Range Road in the national forest near the border of El Paso and Teller counties.
Authorities said no homes or structures were threatened by the fire, which had grown to about 15 acres by nightfall. Anyone hiking or camping in the forest was told to leave soon after the fire was reported about 5 p.m.
Air support was requested almost immediately and planes and helicopter were seen making passes over the rugged terrain dropping retardant and buckets of water. The heavy reliance on air attacks was due to the difficulty ground crews were having hiking in to the flames. About 100 firefighters were battling the fire.
Anyone within a 1.7-mile radius of Rampart Range Road and Forest Service Road 312 was among those told to prepare for possible evacuations, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office said.
The fire shut down Forest Service Roads 300 to 320, and the following roads were evacuated: 941, 943, 944, 945 and 946.
Smoke was visible in Woodland Park, according to an advisory message from Teller County.
The Rampart fire, as some were referring to it, broke out as hot dry weather again dominated the state and stoked several wildfires burning in Colorado. The Lake Christine fire, outside Basalt, roaring back to life, flashing flames through conifer trees and belching more smoke than earlier in the week.
In the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, where the 416 fire is burning, monsoon moisture on Friday was expected to bring afternoon showers and thunderstorms, according to the National Weather Service. Flash flooding was possible in drainage basins near recent fires and burn scars.
Lake Christine fire
The fire grew by 773 acres in hot, dry weather Wednesday, totaling more than 7,700 acres since starting July 3, according to the Aspen Times.
Increased fire activity Thursday threw off huge plumes of smoke in the area, and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an air quality health advisory through 9 a.m. Friday for southwest Eagle County, including Basalt and El Jebel.
Craig Hot Shots built fire lines on the north flank of the fire Thursday, supported by aircraft and helicopters making water and fire retardant drops.
After being downgraded to a type 3 team fire Monday, federal officials plan to bring back a type 2 incident management team Friday morning because of the increased activity, the Times reported.
On Thursday evening, a pre-evacuation notice was posted for residents of Cedar Drive, Toner Creek, Seven Castles and Taylor Road because of increased fire behavior on the eastern flank of the fire. The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office contacted residents in the areas, who were warned to be prepared to leave their homes in a moment’s notice.
Silver creek fire
A new wildfire started Thursday in the Routt National Forest near the peak of Gore Mountain, northwest of Kremmling. The remote fire was about 10 acres Thursday night, burning through thick, dead and downed lodgepole pine, spruce and fir, according to forest officials.
No firefighting resources were on scene Thursday night. A red flag fire warning was posted for the area Thursday, through 8 p.m., and stage one fire restrictions were in effect for the national forest.