East Peak Fire rapidly grows to 9,000 acres and destroys 8 or 9 buildings

HUERFANO COUNTY, Colo. - The East Peak Fire in Huerfano County grows rapidly to an estimated total of 9,000 acres.

Earlier Thursday, when the size was estimated at just 1,000 acres, Huerfano County triggered mandatory evacuations east of the town of La Veta to Interstate 25 and south of Walsenburg to the Las Animas County line.

KRDO-TV reported that a fire official said three or four years of dry weather, low humidity and a heavy fuel load is causing the fire to explode.

So far, eight or nine structures have been lost.

The town of Walsenburg is under pre-evacuation status. Pre-evacuation is also in effect from south of the town of Aguilar to the city limits of Trinidad and east to I-25.

Interstate 25 is currently open, but threatened, according to the Huerfano County Office of Emergency Management.

The wildfire is burning in heavy timber below East Spanish Peak, authorities said. A Red Flag weather warning has been issued and officials expect extreme fire behavior.

There is currently zero containment. The fire continues to make significant runs to the east and southeast, emergency managers said.

150 firefighters are working against the fire, but KRDO reports officials believe containment will stay at 0 percent for quite a while.

Fort Carson firefighters and equipment from the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site Fire Station have been sent to help fight the fire.

There is currently one brush truck, one administrative truck, one utility truck and six personnel supporting on the East Peak Fire.

“Fort Carson is working diligently to support our Southern neighbors in fighting the East Peak Fire, and we remain committed to assisting with the firefighting needs of all our neighboring communities,” said Carl McPherson, Directorate of Emergency Services deputy director.

A community meeting is scheduled for 8 p.m. Friday at the La Veta Fairgrounds.

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