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High Park Fire nearly 70% contained at 1,572 acres

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Posted at 12:03 PM, May 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 12:56:51-04

TELLER COUNTY, Colo. — The High Park Fire is 69% contained at 1,573 acres, fire officials said in an update Tuesday evening.

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The High Park Fire burning west of Cripple Creek remains at 1,572 acres as of Tuesday morning, according to fire officials.

During a 9 a.m. briefing Tuesday, Lathan Johnson, operations section chief trainee with Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team 1, said fire crews made good progress Monday.

Helicopters dropped water on areas of heat, and ground crews built containment lines and conducted burnout operations in the tough terrain.

The fire remains 37% contained.

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In an effort to assist fire crews responding to the High Park Fire, Woodland Park School District Superintendent Mathew Neal organized a plan to assist at the incident command center at 4 Mile Fire Station in Teller County, which includes closing one elementary school each day May 17 through May 19 to allow staff members to provide support to the fire crews. On May 20, the middle school and high school staff will be released as the need warrants, the district said, though the buildings will stay open for preschool and center-based programs.

For Tuesday, fire crews will focus on mopping up and constructing both direct and indirect containment lines toward the south of the fire area to try to keep it from advancing in that direction. Another crew will work to remove hazardous fuels to reduce the risk of loss of critical infrastructure at the Mount Pisgah communications site, as well as assessing the threatened communities in the evacuation area.

Very little rain fell overnight, and fuels in the area are considered critically dry. Weather conditions are expected to be similar on Tuesday with temperatures in the mid- to upper 70s, mostly sunny skies, a minimum relative humidity of 11% and winds around 10 mph with gusts up to 20 mph.

Mandatory evacuation orders remain in place for the Lakemoor subdivision and pre-evacuation notices are in effect for Cripple Creek Ranches. This interactive map shows the evacuations and closures.

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About 580 homes are within these two zones, which includes about 400 people and 75 rural businesses. The value of the evacuated properties is about $56.9 million and pre-evacuation properties add another $216.1 million, according to the Teller County Assessor’s Office.

No structures have been destroyed, though they got close, fire officials said Sunday late afternoon.

The fire was reported on May 12 shortly after 4 p.m., and the cause remains unknown.

The Teller County Board of County Commissioners has requested that the state declare a statewide wildfire emergency. It estimated that the cost of firefighting at the High Park Fire is about $2 million, but could reach $300 million depending on how long the fire burns and its severity. This would exhaust the Teller County Fire Contingency Fund, the board said.

Teller County remains under stage 2 fire restrictions.

For more details on the fire, call 719-315-4005 or email 2022.highpark@firenet.gov. Officials are also providing updates on their Facebook page and InciWeb page.