YMCA Fire 40% contained; overnight humidity helps


CAÑON CITY, Colo. — Thursday night’s higher humidity levels helped temper fire activity at the YMCA Fire burning southwest of Cañon City. Firefighters continued progress on containing the fire on Friday.

The lightning-caused fire was first reported around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday. It’s burning in steep, rugged terrain on BLM land about four miles southwest of Cañon City. It has burned 293 acres and is 30% contained as of Thursday evening. The containment is on the western and southwestern sides of the fire.

The YMCA Fire area as of 2 p.m. Thursday. / Courtesy YMCA Fire Information

No structures are threatened by the fire, and no closures, pre-evacuations, or evacuations are in place as of Friday morning. Residents in the area are encouraged to sign up for the Alert Fremont system to get emergency alerts in real time. Sign up here.

County Road 3 and 3A are closed south of the Royal Gorge Bridge due to the fire. The bridge itself is open.

Smoke and possibly flames may be visible from Cañon City and surrounding areas throughout the day Friday.

Fires are often named for the topographical feature on which they started, and the YMCA Fire was started by a lightning strike on YMCA Mountain four miles west of Canon City on July 8.

A much harder question is why the mountain is named YMCA. According to the Royal Gorge Regional Museum and History Center, the mountain was likely named many years ago for the local Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), who found the site a popular destination for hiking and mountain climbing. The mountain was renamed in 1943 to Land’s Peak in honor of prominent local citizen Emory S. Land. But that name didn’t stick, and the name eventually reverted back to YMCA. For a full account of the story, you can read about it in the Museum blog at https://museum.canoncity.org/?p=808.

Firefighting efforts

On Friday, firefighters are taking advantage of higher overnight humidity that tempered fire activity. Four hand crews are constructing control line in accessible places along the fire’s edge. A total of 141 people are fighting the fire. A fifth hand crew will join the firefighting effort Friday.

Two helicopters will continue bucket drops of water to cool off hot spots and address fire edge that’s inaccessible from the ground. Air tankers will continue to be available as needed.

More information

Fire officials have set up the following resources to provide information about the fire:

Fire Information Office: (719) 315-0690
Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6836/
Facebook: facebook.com/YMCAFireCO
Twitter: twitter.com/YMCAFireCO

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