As of Monday morning, The massive 107,000 acre Spring Fire is at 55 percent containment.
Highway 160 between Fort Garland and La Veta is open, but don’t stop to take photos of the fire area as that could cause problems. Highway 12 in the Cuchara Valley remains closed south of La Veta.
(most recent fire map, released Monday 7/9)
Residents will be allowed to re-enter the area under pre-evacuation status, a photo ID and Rapid tag card is required to gain entry.
Those areas are:
Vega Drive, Indian Creek Drive, Wahatoya Valley, Shangri La, Little Kansas, County Road 363 also known as the Mesa, County Road 362.1, County Road 361, County Road 440, County Road 450, County Road 451, County Road 430, County Road 420, Indian Creek Ranch up to and including gas plant property.
These residents will be required to have their Rapid Tag Re-entry I.D. and can enter through checkpoints at the intersection of South Cucharas/Birch or the end of West Francisco Street. This area will remain on pre-evacuation status.
Homeowners in the Forbes Park subdivision were allowed to return on Saturday for a few hours to survey the damage and conduct clean ups. Most of the homes lost are in this neighborhood just east of Fort Garland.
He is suspected of arson and immigration authorities say he was an illegal immigrant from Denmark who started the fire on June 27.
Pre-evacuations were expanded Tuesday night on both the north and south forks of the fire, covering a stretch from the Pueblo County line into Las Animas County.
The latest evacuations mean almost the entire western half of Huerfano County is in a pre-evacuation zone or under mandatory evacuation orders. Walsenburg is not included in any evacuation or pre-evacuation orders.
On the north side of the fire, Huerfano County emergency management officials issued pre-evacuation orders of their own stretching from I-25 west to the Custer County line and from Highway 69 north to the the Pueblo County line.
That order includes the communities of Black Mountain, Aspen Mountain, Libre, El Toro, CL&L, Buffalo Ranch, and Eagle Flat Ranch. The towns of Gardner and La Veta are also on pre-evacuation status.
Mandatory evacuation orders were also issued for the Chama, Redwing, Malachite, and Badito areas south of Highway 69.
Navajo Ranch, Majors Ranch, and homes along County Road 530 south to Highway 160 including Vega Road near Navajo are also under mandatory evacuation orders. Evacuees can leave north to Highway 69 or Highway 160 only going east.
To find out if your area is affected, Huerfano County Emergency Management has a link for residents to receive notifications.
Evacuees from Huerfano County should go to the Red Cross Shelter in Walsenburg at 928 Russell Street Walsenburg, CO 81089.
County officials also opened a new location to receive Rapid Re-entry identification cards at the Upper Huerfano Fire Protection District. That’s located at 25396 CO HWY 69, Gardner, CO and it will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
La Veta Disaster Assistance Center located at 126 E Garland St in La Veta.
Las Animas County
On the south side of the fire, Las Animas County emergency management officials issued a pre-evacuation order for all residents living south of the Huerfano/Las Animas County line to County Road 42. The zone extends east to County Road 21.7 and west to Highway 12.
The area includes all phases of the Cuchara Pass Ranches, Timber Creek Ranch, Timber Ridge at Cordova Pass and the Spanish Peak Ranch Estates. A pre-evacuation order means that anyone living in those areas should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
On the western flank of the fire, The Indian Creek and Trinchera Ranch area moved from mandatory evacuations to pre-evacuations Tuesday. Rapid tags and a second form of ID will be required for re-entry to the fire area.
Homeowners in Forbes Park will likely be allowed onto their properties this Saturday for a few hours in order to survey the damage and conduct clean-up. The Red Cross will be on hand to provide gloves, trash bags, and masks to help out.
That plan may change if the weather does not cooperate or the fire returns to the area. There’s no word on when they may return home after the initial visit.
Officials overseeing the effort reminded people to be aware of hot propane tanks, downed power lines, downed trees, and trees that could come down as they were weakened by the fire. Crews surveying the area are already checking for danger spots before allowing people to return home.
Blanca/Fort Garland Community Center located at 17591 E. Hwy 160 in Blanca, CO
Centennial High School in San Luis located at 14644 CO-159, San Luis, CO 81152
Official Facebook page for firefighting effort – Spring Fire 2018
Official Twitter account for firefighting effort – @SpringFire2018