The Spring Fire has grown to 41,292 acres as of Saturday afternoon, and evacuations orders continue to expand. According to fire investigators, the fire was human caused, the exact nature of the first spark is still under investigation. The Sheriff’s Office has reported that one person has been arrested for arson.
The fire, which is also being called the Spring Creek Fire, started Wednesday afternoon about five miles east of Fort Garland. Homes have been destroyed, but there’s no word yet on how many. No injuries have been reported. As of the last briefing, the fire had been zero percent contained.
Evacuees and others can call the public information phone line at 719-695-9573 from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. for information about the fire.
The next meeting for evacuees will be at 1 p.m. at the Blanca/Ft. Garland Community Center.
The following areas are under mandatory evacuation as of 8:40 p.m. Friday:
- [8:40 p.m.] Area north and east of Trinchera Ranch Road and south of Highway 160 in the Fort Garland
- [2:20 p.m.] Navajo Ranch, Major Ranch, and homes along CR 530 and south to Highway 160.
- Forbes Park in Costilla County
- Wagon Creek Estates in Costilla County
- Tres Valles, Paradise Acres, Raspberry Mountain, Pine Haven, and the Cuchara Valley in Huerfano County
The following areas are under a pre-evacuation notice:
- [10 p.m.] Huerfano County, including Red Wing, Chama, Malachite and the town of Gardner. Also included is Badito area on the south side of Highway 69.
- The area north and east of Trichera Ranch Road and south of Highway 160 in the Fort Garland area of Costilla County
- La Veta
- Parts of Piñon Hills
Red Cross evacuation centers have been set up at:
- The Blanca Fort Garland Community Center at 17591 East Highway 160 in Blanca
- The Huerfano Community Center at 928 Russel Street in Walsenburg
Evacuated animals may be taken to the 4H barn in La Veta or to the Las Animas County Fairgrounds in Trinidad.
Map provided by fire officials:
Highway 160 is closed in both directions over La Veta Pass between between Fort Garland (mile marker 258) and Highway 12 (mile marker 293, near La Veta).
As of Saturday morning, CO 12 from CR 420 in La Veta to the summit of Cuchara Pass have been closed.
The Colorado Department of Transportation said the fire jumped over the highway at mile marker 284, which is near Huerfano County Road 442 east of the La Veta Pass summit, Thursday night. Firefighters were able to keep it from spreading on the north side of the highway.
San Isabel Electric members in the Cuchara, La Veta and Walsenburg areas are asked to call the utility to report outages. The utility said all of their meters are equipped with wireless radios that communicate with their headquarters, but the fire damaged the link between the meters and the headquarters, so they have no way of knowing when a member’s power is out. To report an outage, call 1-800-279-7432.
The Costilla County Sheriff’s Office, with the help of Colorado Bureau of Investigations, arrested Jesper Jorgenson, 52, without incident. Jorgenson is being held on arson charges.
The investigation is still on going so information on this matter is limited.
The evacuations and road closures have forced the USPS to stop delivery to more than 360 homes in the fire area. Residents can pick up their mail at either the Fort Garland Post Office at 313 Highway 159 or the La Veta Post Office at 117 East Ryus Avenue.
Residents expecting necessities, such as medications, to be delivered via UPS should call 719-589-4477 for information.
Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team Black assumed command of the fire at 6 a.m. Friday.
As of Friday afternoon, four heavy air tankers, four heavy helicopters, and more than 200 firefighters are fighting the fire. Another 200 firefighters from across the country are expected to arrive Saturday.
Three air quality health advisories have been reissued through Sunday morning due to the smoke.
Affected areas in south-central Colorado are: Costilla, Huerfano, Pueblo, Alamosa and eastern Conejos Counties. Locations include, but are not limited to La Veta, Walsenburg, Pueblo, Colorado City, Fort Garland, San Luis, Alamosa and Conejos.
According to Colorado Air Control Board, the heaviest smoke is mainly impacting locations in close vicinity to the fire within rural parts of northeastern Costilla and southern Huerfano Counties, but periods of heavy smoke can be expected as far northeast as Pueblo. A change in the wind pattern Saturday night through Sunday morning will shift the heaviest smoke impacts to the west of the fire.
Improving weather on the way to battle the wildfires, but smoke issues will continue for many areas today. 3 Air Quality Health Advisories have been reissued through Sunday morning. #springfire #westonpassfire #416fire #cofire https://t.co/PaQkiO4q1J pic.twitter.com/RZvWnSWFY5— CDPHE Air Pollution (@cdpheapcd) June 30, 2018
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