June 29, 2012, 7:45, MDST
Colorado Wildfire Updates
Waldo Canyon Fire, President Barack Obama declared Colorado a disaster area, allowing it to receive federal disaster relief aid. He visited Colorado Springs on Friday. The president took a tour of the Mountain Shadows sub-division and the Waldo Canyon fire area. Obama said that he saw "enormous devastation" in some subdivisions. Two alleged burglary suspects were arrested today and are accused of breaking into an evacuated home in a Colorado Springs subdivision inside the Waldo Canyon fire zone. El Paso County Sheriff's Office and Monument Police, arrested Belinda Yates, 38 , and Shane Garrett, 36 , acting on information from an unrelated, identity theft investigation.
Fire officials said higher humidity levels, some rain and reduced winds helped firefighters gain 25% containment on Thursday. More than 1,200 firefighters were on the fire lines Thursday, taking advantage of the lull in the weather to continue expanding the fire lines. U.S. 24 remains closed from Cave of the Winds to the county line and will remain that way through the weekend. Colorado Springs issued the number of destroyed homes at 347. During a routine inspection of the burned homes today a body was discovered at 2910 Rossmere Street in the Mountain Shadows sub-division. It was reported that a second person was missing from that same address. This afternoon it was confirmed that there were two bodies at 2910 Rossmere Street.
The fire has grown to 17,037 acres; there has been a maximum effort to contain the spot fires north of Rampart Ridge Reservoir. Favorable weather conditions have allowed for securing of the subdivision of Cedar Heights and eliminate the potential of fire from destroyed structures involving other structures. Weather and fire behavior has also allowed crews to go direct in all divisions. Development of management action points; for evacuations have begun for Woodland Park, Monument and Manitou Springs. Firefighters are working to secure the Stanley Repeater site and mitigate the threat of fire damage. The firefighters will focus tonight on completing work around the Stanley Repeater site. Complete direct line construction in divisions C and D. Secure lines in Williams Canyon to reduce the threat to Manitou Springs. Contain and secure spot fires north of Rampart Reservoir. Continue to secure line on US Air Force Academy.
June 29, 10:00pm 9News reports that the evacuation orders for Cedar Heights and the Rockrimmon areas have been lifted and residents can return home.
June 29, 4:45pm - Monument residents who have registered with the elpasoteller911 will be receiving a reminder geocast that they are under pre-evacuation status only.
June 29, 9:30am - Evac lifted - Thunderbird and Pinecreek Estates - Communities accessed by Pinecreek Road and Tudor Road.
June 29, 9:30am - Evac lifted - Commerce Drive north from east Woodmen to Pinecreek Drive.
June 29, 9:30am - Air Force Academy opens Pine Valley and Douglas Valley Housing for resident return effictive 5am June 29 (use North and south gates). Child Development center, commissary, BX and Falcon club open for normal business hours.
Estimated date of full containment remains at Monday July 16th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM
Family and friends can check status by phone at (719) 785-2724.
Flagstaff Fire, No significant fire growth was reported overnight. Firelines are in place on the west and south sides of the fire area. There were dozens of lightning strikes as thunderstorms moved through the area yesterday. A small spot fire occurred on Green Mountain, but was contained. Crews patrolled the fire overnight to search for and contain any other potential spot fires. Several flare-ups reported last night were within unburned islands of fuel within the perimeter and did not threaten containment. Today, firefighters will focus on building fireline on the northeast and southeast edges and strengthening the line elsewhere. Officials said the fire is holding at 40%containment. A federal Type 1 incident command took over the lead early Thursday morning on fighting the Flagstaff Fire, which is about 300 acres in size. Fire Officials said the goal is to have 100% containment by Saturday. The fire is burning 1.5 miles outside the city limits on the west side of Boulder and is still a threat to the city of Boulder, according to Incident Commander Rocky Opliger. 221 firefighters are part of the team assigned to the fire.
The Emergency Operations Center has activated a call center for residents and others impacted by the fire to obtain information. The phone number is 303-413-7730.
High Park Fire, The High Park Fire near Fort Collins is holding at 85% containment and could be fully contained this weekend, officials said. The High Park Fire has burned 87,284 acres and destroyed 257 homes. The containment date was moved from July 30th to July 15th then July 1st. The cost of fighting the fire so far is $33.5 million. The work focus has shifted to rehabilitation, removing negative effects of suppression efforts. Crews are smoothing dozer lines around Glacier View, for example. Thursday at 5 p.m. residents were allowed to return to the following areas: Rist Canyon Road, including all connecting roads, and the following subdivisions: (Pine Acres, Davis Ranch, Rist Canyon, Spring Valley, Whale Rock, Rist Creek, Stratton Park, Tip Top Ranch), Laurence Creek, Paradise Park, Stove Prairie Road from Buckhorn Road to Bent Timber Lane, Old Flowers Road from Stove Prairie Road to the 8000 block. Evacuation order for Glacier View Filing 12 is expected to be lifted at noon on Friday June 29. Today should be warmer and drier with morning sun and a chance of afternoon lightning, with WSW winds. Coordination continues with local authorities to facilitate assessment and re-entry into previously evacuated subdivisions. Acres by ownership: Private: 39,570/State: 5,022/U.S. Forest Service: 42,634/Bureau of Land Management: 28/Bureau of Reclamation: 30. Most of Glacier View subdivision located north of the fire will re-enter tomorrow. Additional re-entry will be allowed as infrastructure is restored. Threat to residences is decreasing due to increase in containment. The fire team has made many resources available for reassignment to other fires, but is keeping crews and equipment to sustain effective suppression and work across the High Park fire.
There will no longer be citizens' briefings.
Little Sand Fire, Suppression resources assigned to the Little Sand Fire attacked two new fires today that resulted from yesterday's lightning. One fire east of the Little Sand Fire near the confluence of O'Neal Creek and the Piedra River was contained at less than one acre by firefighters and one engine. A second fire was contained at six acres south of the Little Sand Fire near the confluence of First Fork Creek and the Piedra River by two heavy helicopters, crews and engines. The Little Sand Fire has burned 23,500 acres with 34% containment. The fire is burning 13 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs in rugged and inaccessible terrain just north of the Piedra River. Approximately 220 personnel are fighting the fire. The fire is in rugged and inaccessible terrain, north of the Piedra River. Cause of this fire was lightning. Crews will continue patrol of southern portion of the fire adjacent to the Piedra River. They will use bucket drops and hand crews, as needed, to contain spot fires. There are very few closures due to fire activity. Pagosa Springs and most Forest Service & private campgrounds are open for business. Smoke will continue to be a problem in low lying areas in the early morning hours. Communities around the fire area in Archuleta, La Plata, Hinsdale, Mineral, Rio Grande and Conejos counties will experience potentially heavy smoke when the fire is active and wind is blowing their direction. There are very few closures due to fire activity. Pagosa Springs and most Forest Service & private campgrounds are open for business.
New Treasure Fire, The fire is roughly 10 miles southwest of Quandary Peak, some 6 miles northwest of Leadville and proximate to Climax Mine and the crest of Fremont Pass. It burns in Birdseye Gulch on the western side of Mosquito Peak. Reported at 420 acres and growing, 50% containment with 125 firefighters assigned to the fire. The fire is listed as a Type 4 incident, placing it lower on the priority list for resources. 4 full-size and one 10-person hand crews are working at the fire. Two of the four crews have arrived within the last 48 hours. Also assigned are one helicopter and various supervisory and support staff. One additional hand crew is on order. No structures are currently threatened. The Treasure fire is not threatening lives or structures at this time. Mosquito Pass Road has been reopened. The road into Birdseye Gulch remains closed.
People working on the fire:
Incident Commander Chris Naccarato
Americorps 10-person crew from Lake George Colorado
Greyback, contract crew from Montana
Juniper Valley, Department of Corrections crew from Buena Vista, Colorado
Maryland One crew, most of whom are employees of the State of Maryland
MidPlains, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from Kansas
Pacific Oasis, a contract crew from Oregon
One medium-life helicopter staffed by the Gallatin Helirappel crew
Supervisory and support staff
CR-102 Fire, No change, Crews are still working hot spots and are calling the fire 95% contained. Weather remains a factor as the work fire in and near the canyon area. Evacuations are still lifted and no immediate concerns are held for the Town of Elbert and surrounding areas. Elbert County is requesting that the community remain on Fire Watch and report wildfires and careless activity that could result in a fire.
State Line Fire, No Changes, the fire has burned 350 acres including some buildings along U.S. Highway 550. The blaze is about 50% contained. Battling the blaze Monday were 140 fire personnel, 10 engines and a helicopter doing water drops. Cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Weber Fire, The fire was actively burning on the slopes below the communication site on the north end of the fire. Overnight, firefighters monitored fire activity while they continued to prepare for burnout operations. The estimated containment date is, Thursday July 05th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM. The fire acreage held steady today at approximately 9,279 acres, with 45% containment. Fire managers often use a tactical approach of putting in-direct fire line then burning out the unburned fuels between the fire perimeter and the constructed fire line. This technique is used when an area within the fire perimeter is not safe for firefighters to work in. Structure protection around residences and communication towers is still in place. The goal is to clean up fuels between the indirect lines low on the slopes and the areas where the fire is currently burning in steep, broken terrain. Eliminating this fuel will be critical to stopping the Weber Fire from spreading further to the north Firefighting efforts are being aided by air resources, including two Type 1 and two Type 3 helicopters. Mop-up operations continue along the western flank of the fire. Firefighters are using this technique to extinguish hotspots along the containment lines. Fire managers hope to do another burnout tomorrow on the south end of the fire, near the junction of Weber Canyon and East Canyon. This is the last large area of fuel near the fire perimeter. Burning this area will make the Weber Fire much less likely to escape from the lines, bringing the fire much closer to full containment. Light precipitation fell on the fire last night with numerous lightning strikes in the vicinity of the fire. A Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office and Bureau of Land Management investigation “revealed a juvenile person of interest,” according to a sheriff’s office news release. The identity of the suspect was not released.
Lightner Fire, is burning about 3.5 miles west of Durango in the Lightner Creek drainage on the north side of Highway 160. The fire is located approximately 1.5 miles north of the junction of County Roads 207 and 208, and west of County Road 208. The fire started on the Perins Peak State Wildlife Area and burned up onto public lands managed by the BLM Tres Rios Field Office. The 80-acre fire is approximately 40% contained. At 10:00 AM today there were 50 fire personnel, 2 engines, 2 water tenders and one Type 1 helicopter on scene. Additional firefighters are expected this afternoon. A helicopter and SEAT dropped retardant on the top and shoulders of Barnroof Mountain yesterday. Total number of fire personnel today is 90 firefighters. Fire activity picked up a little this afternoon burning another 5 acres. An update on containment will not be available until Friday evening.
Pine Ridge Fire, Firefighters working the Pine Ridge Fire today are focusing on keeping the fire west of Interstate 70 and out of developed areas. I-70 is currently open in this area, but intermittent closures can be expected due to firefighting activity and smoke. Traffic has been diverted around I-70 between mile markers 62 and 49, but this detour could also be closed if the fire crosses I-70 or the smoke becomes too thick. The fire is estimated at approximately 12,000 acres with 5% containment. Two helicopters are supporting firefighters today, and four air tankers are available. Firefighters worked through the night last night burning out a fire line on the northeast side of the fire in efforts to protect the Town of De Beque. They continue to hold that line today.
The evacuation on the southeast side of De Beque remains in place (south of U Road, west of 45.5 Road and east of I-70).
About 35 oil and gas wells are in the affected area of the fire. The operators have shut-in the well, which means they are not producing oil and gas.
A Type 1 Incident Management Team will assume command of the fire Saturday morning.