2 homes, 5 other buildings lost in Junkins Fire; Type-I management team being brought in

Posted at 10:50 AM, Oct 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-18 19:29:26-04

CUSTER COUNTY, Colo. – A Type-I management team is being brought in to fight the Junkins Fire, which officials said Tuesday evening has so far burned 16,312 acres.

Junkins Fire spokeswoman Dawn Sanchez said at a 10 a.m. news conference on the fire that it is still 0 percent contained and the cause remains under investigation. The fire first started Monday and grew quickly throughout the day.

The fire remained 0 percent contained at 5:30 p.m.

A Type-I management team is en route to the fire and is expected to take over command of operations Wednesday morning, Sanchez said.

Two homes have been lost and five additional buildings have been so far lost in the fire, according to Custer County Sheriff Shannon Byerly.

The fire, which is burning in Pueblo and Custer counties, as well as on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management land, has forced people in 175 homes to evacuate in Custer County and people in 82 homes in Pueblo County to evacuate as well.

But 70 properties in Custer County are under pre-evacuation orders, as are a total of 2,500 people in Pueblo County.

Sanchez said power outages were reported across the area, but that the fire laid down overnight and that crews may be able to take some homeowners and ranchers in to see their property and livestock Tuesday.

There are no red flag warnings Tuesday, though some gusts of up to 20-25 miles per hour are expected.

A multi-mission aircraft is expected to fly over and map the fire later Tuesday, and officials said a better idea of the fire’s size should be expected by the evening.

There are two public meetings scheduled for Tuesday: the first will be held at 5 p.m. at the Custer County School’s west gym. The second will be held at 7:30 p.m. at Florence High School.

There are currently 114 personnel working on the fire, though that number is expected to change as the Type-I crews arrive.

The Colorado Department of Corrections is organizing donations for evacuees. Non-perishable food can be taken to the Custer County Share Center at 120 N. 3rd St. in Westcliffe, and monetary donations are being accepted at the First State Bank of Westcliffe in the Wet Mountain Fire Ladies Auxiliary Account.

Pueblo County Emergency Information and the Junkins Fire Facebook page are both providing updates as well.


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