East Peak Fire: Estimated size reduced to 13,472 acres and containment increased to 55 percent

WALSENBURG, Colo. - With more accurate mapping, the estimated size of the East Peak Fire was reduced Tuesday night to 13,472 acres. Meanwhile, containment grew to 55 percent.

Earlier Tuesday, the City of Walsenburg was removed pre-evacuation status.

The current area of concern is on the southwest corner of the fire, where it continues to burn in steep terrain.

Overnight, firefighters plan to monitor and mop-up the edges of the fire. They'll also spend time checking for hot spots around structures.

Despite the challenge of high winds on Monday, firefighters said they made progress in mop up and patrolling the fire perimeter and engine crews continued to ensure structure protection.

On Tuesday, firefighters were "gridding" and "cold trailing" to make sure the fire is out and cold.

"Gridding is when firefighters walk in unison in a line to locate any pockets of heat left in the fire, followed by cold trailing where they take off their gloves and use the back of their hand to make sure that the burned area is cool to the touch," according to a news release from Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team C. "Firefighters use all of their senses during their work, not just their hands but they actively look for difference in the colors in the ashes, watch for insect activities, smell of the ground, and any sounds from remaining embers."

A “Red Flag” Warning was issued again Tuesday, due to very hot, dry, and windy conditions. 

"With the ongoing multi-year drought persisting, firefighters are faced with an additional challenge of the dry fuel conditions rated as “extreme” and potential for fire rate of spread is elevated," officials said on the fire information website, Inciweb.org.

Ten structures and four outbuildings have been damaged in the fire. It's not clear if the structures are homes.

Two phone lines have been established for people with questions about the East Peak Fire. You can call (719) 742-3882 or (719) 315-4808.

A community meeting is scheduled for Tuesday at La Veta Town Park at 7 p.m. 

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