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Wildfire burning near Twin Lakes grows to 400 acres with pre-evacuation notices issued

Pre-evac notices, air quality alerts in place as wildfire burns near Twin Lakes
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Posted at 1:06 PM, Jun 12, 2024

LAKE COUNTY, Colo. – A wildfire burning in the Twin Lakes area grew to over 400 acres on Wednesday up from the 161 acres reported 24-hours earlier.

The Interlaken fire was at 0% containment, as of 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Heavy smoke from the Interlaken Fire, burning 20 miles south of Leadville on the south side of Twin Lakes Reservoir, triggered an air quality health advisory for portions of Lake and Chaffee Counties as the wildfire continues to burn near the Interlaken Resort in the Twin Lakes area.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) issued the alert for Twin Lakes, Granite, Americus and Buena Vista, among other areas, as the wildfire burned 164 acres as of Tuesday afternoon.

While smoke was expected to diminish Wednesday morning, heavy smoke could redevelop through Thursday morning, said the CDPHE.

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The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office said pre-evacuation notices are in place for residents and visitors from Clear Creek Reservoir to the Chaffee County, Lake County line.

“This a pre-evacuation notification only, at this time. Please be ready to leave if it becomes necessary. We will also be sending an Emergency alert (Everbridge notification) to people in that area,” said the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office on social media.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office lifted a pre-evacuation order for Balltown while Lost Canyon and Cache Creek remain under a pre-evac notice.

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"Be aware that several trail and road closures are in place at this time," said officials on social media, including the following areas:

  • Interlaken trailhead and parking area
  • Willis Gulch trail
  • Sheep Gulch trail
  • Colorado Trail segments in the Twin Lakes Area
  • Forest Service Road 399, and dispersed camping around the lake.

According to the Forest Service, camping is not allowed on the east side of Twin Lakes or near the Interlaken trailhead.

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U.S. Forest Service resources along with Lake County Search and Rescue, Vail Fire and Chaffee County Fire Protection District have responded to the wildfire.

A total of 135 personnel were fighting the fire including helicopters and fixed-wing air tankers.

"Aviation resources continue to drop buckets of water and fire retardant on the fire to assist in minimizing fire spread," said the Forest Service in a release. "Firefighters are working to protect a number of values at risk including private property, historic structures at Interlaken, Canada lynx habitat, and utility infrastructure."

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said Interlaken Historic District structures were not threatened as of Tuesday evening.

The Denver Fire Department's Wildland Team said crews are headed to Lake County to help fight the fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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