TELLER COUNTY, Colo. — The Teller County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) is in discussion with the State of Colorado and Governor Jared Polis to request the State declare a state-wide wildfire emergency.

The BoCC cited the current High Park Fire as well as the recent and numerous fires in the area as support for the request. The county said in a press release that with limited resources being shared across the nation and because Colorado is still so early in fire season, they believe conditions and demands for scarce resources will only worsen with time.

As of Monday, May 16, 2022, the High Park Fire has burned approximately 1600 acres in rough terrain since May 12, and has forced the pre-evacuation or evacuation of a total of 580 homes, approximately 400 people and 75 rural businesses. The Teller County Assessor’s Office reports that the total value of the evacuated properties is approximately $56.9 million, with another $216.1 million in the pre-evacuation area.

It is estimated that the total cost of fighting the High Park Fire alone is approximately two million dollars after just 5 days, which could exhaust the Teller County Fire Contingency Fund before the conclusion of the 2022 fire season. Depending on the severity and duration of the fire, total cost could reach $300 million, with the addition of a Federal Type I Incident Management Team, a large aerial team attack, and the numerous local departments who are providing personnel and resources to fight the fire.

“While we are being fiscally responsible and maximizing cost-sharing, mission success in fighting this fire and saving human lives and property is paramount,” said Board Chairman Dan Williams. “Based on the early date of this fire and our extreme drought conditions, there is a high probability that we could face our next fire with a depleted fund.”