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403 fire pre-evacuations lifted, 100% contained

Posted at 12:33 PM, Mar 30, 2023

PARK COUNTY, CO — It has been almost half a month since the 403 Fire quickly grew from a small brush fire to a thousand-plus acre fire.

Crews are still working to contain the fire and on Thursday, April 13th the fire was 100% contained. The fire is sitting at 1,559 acres as crews tied in fire lines and continued to patrol and mop up in the area.

The fire will be turned back over to local authorities at 8:00 a.m. on Friday.

On Monday, April 10, all pre-evacuations have been lifted, and the fire is now 88% contained.

Park County Sheriff's Office confirmed with News5 Tuesday afternoon a person of interest is under investigation for their role in causing the 403 fire.

According to the sheriff's office, the person of interest allegedly dumped their fireplace ashes in the backyard, which appears to be the origin of this fire. The investigation is ongoing and no charges have been filed at this time.

The change comes as the operations to contain the fire decrease in complexity. Currently, a total of 63 people are fighting the fire as it stands. These crews are mostly engines, hand crews, and hotshot crews.

There is some hope as the forecast does call for snow this evening in Teller and Park Counties, with accumulation expected to be at least 1 inch.

The weather permitted air support response as a helicopter was able to assist Monday with water bucket drops to areas of the fire with extreme heat.

In a Sunday morning update, Teller County Sheriff Jason Mikesell updated the community with the good news that they can return home.

While the fire stands at 1,388 acres with 25% containment, conditions are well enough to lift mandatory evacuations. Sheriff Mikesell says people who were under mandatory evacuation will change to a pre-evacuation status. They will be allowed to return to their homes after noon today. Homes that were under pre-evacuation status before will remain at that status.

Anyone who lives in the area and wants to return home must provide proof of residence to the Sheriff's Office to return. Mikesell is cautioning people to stay clear of firefighters and crews. Only people who live in the area may return.

Zero structures have been lost and the fire at this time is holding on to the Teller County and Park County line.

Maps of where crews are working to establish fire perimeters were provided to give a better scope of how crews are battling to manage this fire, you can see them below.

403 Fire Ops Map_A_Z
This map shows where division crews are stationed to establish a fire perimeter and containment.
403 Fire Ops Map_Div K_M
This map shows the northern section of the 403 fire footprint where division crews are stationed to establish a fire perimeter and containment.

You can view the most recent updates from Teller County Commissioner, Teller County Sheriff's Office, and the US Forest Servicehere.

The United States Forest Service assumed management of the fire Friday morning. A dedicated Facebook page has been established by the agency to inform the public of updates on the fire. Or you can view the active Incident Information system updates here.

Note: The map below shows mandatory evacuation areas in red, those locations move to pre-evacuation status as of noon Sunday.

403 Fire Zone
Borders of the 403 Fire and evacuation zones per Teller County Sheriff's Office.

If you live near or at one of these subdivisions be prepared to go at a moment's notice.

The Teller County Sheriff's Office has a Public Situational Awareness Map available to see the fire lines and evacuation areas.

Get your latest First Alert 5 Weather forecast.

Power and gas were cut off south of Highway 24 and West of Teller County Rd. 1 to the County Line. The Teller County Sheriff's Office says this will mostly impact the Wilson Lakes and Forest Glenn.

403 FIRE 033123 Lake george Shelters.jpg

For those evacuating the area, there are 2 shelters established:

  • Park County emergency shelter is at the Lake George Community Center located at 39141 US 24, Lake George, CO 80827.
  • Woodland Park Community Church, 800 Valley View Dr., Woodland Park.

The American Red Cross has also set up an evacuation center at the Woodland Park Community Church.
If you have large animals and livestock to evacuate, please go to the Lake George Fairgrounds located at 37371 Highway 24 in Lake George, C 80827.

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information is available.

Get your latest First Alert 5 Weather forecast.
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