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117 fire continues to burn, Fort Carson joining the fight

Posted: 6:19 AM, Apr 18, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-18 08:19:43-04

Wednesday morning, 1,000 people remain evacuated from their homes as the fast moving 117 fire burns East of Hanover.

Evacuations stretch from I-25 all the way to the El Paso/Lincoln County Line.

As the sun comes up Wednesday morning, troops from Fort Carson will put their training on hold to join the firefight. All training activities on the Mountain Post are canceled to allow personnel and equipment to be used in this kind of firefight. Additional resources and water drops are expected to start coming in around 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The fire started early Tuesday afternoon along the east side of I-25 in the Hanover area. Wednesday morning, the fire is still zero percent contained. Authorities have not said how many acres the fire has burned thus far. Pre-evacuation orders for the Pueblo Chemical Depot were lifted after there were concerns the fire could race south and threaten the complex.

Not counting the troops from Fort Carson heading out today, more than 200 firefighters are already battling the flames. El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said the fire has burned at least 10 structures, one patrol car and heavily damaged a fire engine.

The county is now in negotiations with the state to take over command following the signing of a disaster declaration. This makes it more likely for a type 2 team to come in with their assets to help. County officials estimate the evacuation zone is approximately 305 square miles, encompassing 370 homes affecting about 1,000 people.

The county has enacted Stage 2 fire restrictions, which means all outdoor burning in the county is prohibited.

The Fountain Valley Baptist Church is serving as a shelter for evacuees. People who need places to store animals can take small animals to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs and large animals can be taken to the Norris Penrose Event Center, also in Colorado Springs.

Edison and Hanover School Districts will be closed Wednesday.

The Sheriff’s Office said people who are affected by the 117 fire can call the county joint information center at 719-575-8888.