The Gageby Creek fire has more than doubled in size, burning 4,450 acres of brush and grasslands in southeast Colorado, according to a social media post Thursday from the Bent County Sheriff's Office.
The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control took the lead Thursday on fighting the fire, which was 40% contained, according to the Sheriff's Office.
No businesses or homes have been lost in the blaze, which burned at least 1,700 acres by Wednesday afternoon.
The fire forced residents to evacuate Fort Lyon Wednesday night. Authorities lifted the evacuation order just after 11 p.m. Wednesday. The Las Animas Fire Department began night operations around 11:30 p.m. and monitored the fire throughout the night.
A second fire that sparked north of the Bent/Kiowa line near County Road 14 was reported Wednesday night around 9:15 p.m. Kiowa County fire was working the blaze with mutual aid and one structure was evacuated.
A multiagency response has been fighting the flames with support from three air tankers, the Cañon City helitack team and local responders.
Some video and photos from @COParksWildlife's Todd Marriott showing hot spots and mop-up work by fire crews at John Martin Reservoir State Wildlife Area from #GagebyCreekFire. Marriott says 1,700 acres have burned. pic.twitter.com/2Tpt4ivElK— CPW SE Region (@CPW_SE) April 19, 2023
Thick tamarisk and grasses have burned, and some habitat of the rare and threatened black rail bird species also burned, according to Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. People are asked to avoid the area of County Road JJ west of Hasty.
The fire originally closed Highway 50 between Las Animas and Lamar before reopening late afternoon Tuesday. The highway closed again briefly Wednesday due to smoke between Las Animas and McClave but reopened within the hour based on updates from the Sheriff's Office.
On Tuesday, Parks and Wildlife said people should stay out of the park and surrounding areas due to the wildfire that erupted near the John Martin Reservoir.
Crews battled the blaze amid red flag conditions Wednesday, but lower wind and temps are expected Thursday with possible rain and snow Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service in Pueblo.
Las Animas, the seat of Bent County, is about 120 miles southeast of Colorado Springs.
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