Fires in El Paso, Custer and Eagle Counties prompt evacuations amid dangerous fire conditions

Posted at 4:33 PM, Oct 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-18 02:03:07-04

Warm weather and high winds have made it tough for crews as they battle several damaging fires scorching thousands of acres in Colorado and prompting evacuations in some areas. At least one of the fires burning in southern Colorado has destroyed a home and several outbuildings.

Here is a map of the three major wildfires burning in Colorado:

Talcott Fire

The 14-acre Talcott Fire burning in El Paso County near Rampart Reservoir sparked Monday afternoon amid dangerous fire conditions.

The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office ordered evacuations for areas near Shubarth Trail, Farish, Rampart Reservoir, and Rampart Range Road south of Loy Creek.

The fire is 50 percent contained as of Monday evening. At one point, flames came close to threatening 150 homes in the Green Mountain area.

The cause of the fire is unknown.

Junkins Fire

Farther south, evacuations have been ordered ahead of the Junkins Fire burning west of Wetmore and east of Westcliffe.

The 15,751-acre fire started Monday and is burning close to 129 homes scattered in the evacuation area, according to the Custer County Office of Emergency Management. At least one home and five outbuildings were destroyed. Evacuation shelters have been set up at Valley Bible in Westcliffe and at the Colorado State Fair Ag Palace in Pueblo.

There's no word yet what caused the fire.

Freeman Fire

Another fire burning near the Ruedi Reservoir has burned roughly 300 acres. The Freeman Fire was about 40 percent contained as of Monday evening. The fire was reported shortly after 3 p.m. Saturday near Freeman Creek, which is near the town of Meredith.

Firefighters responded from Basalt and Thomasville, according to a press release from Pitkin County officials. The campground at the east end of the reservoir was evacuated voluntary, and homeowners in the area were put on notice to prepare for evacuation.

Danger in 2016

Firefighters say the extended danger this year is unprecedented.

“We don't have a fire season anymore,” said T.J. Steck, fire chief with the Elizabeth Fire Protection District. “The fire comes at any time of the year for us."


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