Firefighters continue battling two wildfires in Colorado

Firefighters on Saturday battled two wildfires in Colorado, the High Park fire in Teller County and the Ute Pass fire near Durango. The distant fires started Friday, and both involved evacuations.

Firefighters in Colorado Springs on Saturday put out a grass fire near the Colorado Springs Airport.

High Park fire

The High Park fire has burned more than 1,000 acres and is 10% contained, fire officials said. Firefighters on Saturday carried out water and retardant drops on the fire from the air, in support of ground crews.

The wind-driven fire is burning through ponderosa pine and grass on a ridge with High Park Road to the west and steep, rocky terrain with dense fuels along Fourmile Creek to the east, according to the fire command.

On Friday the Teller County Sheriff’s Office issued evacuation orders for Lakemoor, Cripple Creek Ranches and the Mount Pisgah area. Pre-evacuation status is in effect for Rhyolite Mountain Mesa, Monarch and Lost Canyon. Several road closures are in effect in the fire area. An evacuation center has been set up 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 gusted to about 35 mph and relative humidity was in single digits. The warning was set to expire at 8 p.m. Saturday. Teller County is under Stage 2 fire restrictions — building, maintaining, attending or using any fire is prohibited, including campfires and recreational fires.

Local, state and federal firefighters, about 150 overall, are working on the fire. Airplanes, helicopters and engines are being used to suppress the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team 1 is overseeing command of the fire.

Ute Pass fire

The Ute Pass fire, northeast of Durango, has burned about 30 acres and is about 10% contained, according to fire officials.

About 60 homes in the Ute Pass subdivision were ordered to evacuate Friday. The order has been lifted, but residents are on pre-evacuation alert. A stretch 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 Friday. The helicopters continued drops on Saturday, and the air tanker was on standby. The cause of the fire is under investigation. The Durango Interagency Type 3 Team is managing the fire.

Grass fire in Colorado Springs

Firefighters with the Colorado Springs Fire Department doused a grass fire on Saturday near the Colorado Springs Airport. The fire burned about 5 acres and several roads around the airport temporarily closed.

Firefighters said the grass fire was knocked down at 3:31 p.m., less than an hour after crews responded. Firefighters remained on scene “mopping up hot spots” and patrolling the area. The cause is under investigation.

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