On Thursday afternoon, firefighters responded to The Incline Fire, burning near the Barr Trail. Right now, both The Incline and Barr Trail are closed.
The 500-600 block of Ruxton Avenue and all of Fairview are in pre-evacuation status as of 7:40 p.m. Ruxton Avenue is also closed, except to residents in the area.
The fire is not contained as of Thursday evening. It is estimated to be around 3-5 acres in size on private property near the Barr Trail, with 25 firefighters working the fire.
A spokesperson said the active fire is right off of the Barr Trail in a place that is not being impacted by wind. According to the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center, an Air Attack and SEAT were sent to assist. However, that changed as no air units were available to fight the fire. Officials say they are working to be ready for the potential use of aircraft in the morning.
The risks of this fire include very dry conditions in which flames can spread easily, plus the rugged terrain which leaves crews taking extra precautions.
According to Alex Trefry, the PIO for the city of Manitou Springs, at approximately 4:46 p.m., a call came into the communications center stating a man was yelling "burn the forest down" near the Barr Trail. About 30 minutes later there was visible smoke. The Manitou Springs Police Department and El Paso County Sheriff's Office responded to the call.
NEW INFO: Manitou Springs says at 4:46 pm, a caller reported a man screaming “burn the forest down” near Barr trail. That was the original call that led deputies to respond to the scene - 30 minutes after, smoke was seen. @KOAA
— Colette Bordelon (@ColetteBordelon) October 9, 2020
The alleged suspect is a white male in his early 40's. Officials said he is wearing a white t-shirt with a gray hoodie tied around his waist and gray pants. If you see the suspect, call 719-390-5555.
After review of jurisdictional maps, this investigation will be investigated by the Manitou Springs Fire Department. https://t.co/oxmVWfGdAO
— EPCSheriff (@EPCSheriff) October 9, 2020
Our news team spoke with hikers who were on the trail and said they heard "pops" before they saw the smoke. Others heard a loud explosion.
This is an ongoing investigation and we will update you as soon as more information becomes available. There is a planned press conference early on Friday morning.
Governor Polis' months long state-wide fire ban has officially expired, but officials remind individuals that the fire danger remains high statewide due to dry conditions. Many local governments have put their own fire restrictions in place due to the high fire dangers. CLICK HERE for more information on each counties fire restrictions.
In El Paso County, Stage 2 fire restrictions are still in place. Under the restriction, open burning, using and selling fireworks, and outdoor smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, are all prohibited.