Fire bosses now say the Spring Fire has burned an estimated 60,710 acres and containment has been downgraded from 10 percent to 5 percent due to new growth from the fire.
The news comes as mandatory evacuations were expanded further north into Huerfano County Monday.
The Huerfano County Office of Emergency Management says all residents in the area north of County Road 362 to the county line should evacuate now.
That area includes the the School Creek, Wahotoya Valley, Little Kansas, and East Spanish Peaks communities, the area known as the “Mesa,” as well as the west side of Shangri La.
An earlier mandatory evacuation notice was sent out for the Chama, Redwing, Malachite, and Badito areas south of Highway 69. Officials also reopened Colorado Highway 69 a little before 9 p.m. following an hours-long closure between the Custer County line and 5 miles west of Walsenburg Monday afternoon.
Evacuees from Huerfano County should go to the Red Cross Shelter in Walsenburg at 928 Russell Street Walsenburg, CO 81089.
The town of Gardner remains on pre-evacuation status, after emergency officials mistakenly said it was under mandatory evacuation orders Monday afternoon.
In Costilla County, Emergency Management Officials say at least 104 homes in the Forbes Park subdivision are destroyed and 61 are intact following the Spring Fire.
There are still dozens of homes that are inaccessible in the fire area.
A new disaster assistance center is opening on Tuesday at Centennial High School in San Luis. The center is open to help to help people recovery efforts. They’ll offer housing items and and information on property clean-up. There will also be several counselors and doctors to assist anyone who may need their services.
Officials met with some of the affected homeowners Monday afternoon about the status of their homes.
The full list of homes is listed below:
The type 2 Rocky Mountain incident management team is assuming command of the northern end of the Spring Fire Monday morning. Fire officials say they expect an additional 700 firefighters in the next few days.
That’s in addition to the 480 assigned firefighters and support personnel currently battling the blaze.
A disaster declaration was provided by Governor Hickenlooper last week to make more resources available for the firefight.
Currently there are four air tankers and nine helicopters battling the flames.
If you’re wondering why the supertanker isn’t helping out, it’s currently in Sacramento, California. According to Senior Vice President/ Program Manager Capt. Bob Soelberg, the aircraft and the crew are undergoing a certification process for the Northern California Fire Agency and the the California Forest Service.
Captain Soelberg says they have not been contacted by any agency in Colorado to help out, because they are aware that the supertanker is going through certification. He says as soon as the process is finished, they will absolutely help out in Colorado if it’s requested.
Firefighters are focusing on advanced structure protection in Cuchara. Crews are working to create defensible space around the homes that are threatened.
Officials say a disaster assistance center for those needing recovery assistance is being opened Monday at the Centennial School in San Luis, Colorado.
— SLVEmergency (@SLVEmergency) July 2, 2018
- Trinchera, this is for the area north and east of Trinchera Ranch Road, and south of Highway 160 in the Ft. Garland area
- Navajo Ranch, Majors Ranch, and homes along County Road 530 south to Highway 160. This includes Vega Road near Navajo. Evacuations can be north to Highway 69 or Highway 160 only going east.
- Chama, Redwing, Malachite, and Badito south of Highway 69
- The Town of Gardner
- Blanca/Fort Garland Community Center located at 17591 E. Hwy 160 in Blanca, CO
- Huerfano Community Center located at 928 Russel St, Walsenburg, CO
- CO 69 closed just after 6:30 p.m. Monday between 5 miles north of Walsenburg and the Huerfano/Custer County line
- Highway 160 remains closed in both directions with no estimated time of reopening
- Highway 12 was closed in the Cuchara Valley due to evacuations
Authorities arrested 52-year-old Jesper Joergensen in connection to the blaze. It was updated over the weekend that the fire was not started intentionally, but, it is unknown exactly how the fire started.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have placed an immigration detained on Joergensen following his arrest, as he is an illegal immigrant from Denmark.
From San Luis Valley Emergency – slvemergency.org
Rapid Tag Q&A
WHAT is Rapid Tag?
Rapid Tag is just the commercial name for re-entry identification for residents.
This streamlines the re-entry process and is done in an effort to protect life and property. By checking drivers license and proof of residency, away from the incident, this eliminates congestion at critical access points and allows first responders room to work. Identification must be checked and "verified" before entering the hazard area. It is safer to verify credentials away from the hazard area. It is much safer to "verify" credentials, away from the active fire perimeter, rather than at a check point, on the side of the road.
Rapid tag IDs are ONLY needed by those under mandatory evacuation. We are not issuing them to those under pre-evacuation.
WHEN & WHERE?
Fort Garland Community Center today until 4pm.
Disaster Assistance Center (DAC) Tues and Wed from 8am- 3pm. – Future schedule TBD
We cannot issue Rapid ID’s over the phone. You must be present.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING?
We CANNOT issue RapidID over the phone. You must be present to receive your rapid tag. If you are out of town you can pick up a RapidID once you arrive.