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Abandoned campfire sparked wildfire burning near Twin Lakes, USFS determines

Abandoned campfire sparked wildfire burning near Twin Lakes, USFS determines
Posted at 11:38 AM, Jun 13, 2024

TWIN LAKES, Colo. — An abandoned campfire sparked a wildfire that's burned more than 400 acres in the Twin Lakes area.

As of 4 p.m. Wednesday, the Interlaken Fire, burning 20 miles south of Leadville on the south side of Twin Lakes Reservoir, is 578 acres and 0% contained, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

In a post on Facebook, the Forest Service said the fire originated from an abandoned campfire located about 60 yards from the Interlaken trail and 1.5 miles from the trailhead. Investigators determined the campfire was not properly extinguished and continued to burn.

Abandoned campfire sparked wildfire burning near Twin Lakes, USFS determines

Investigators believe the campfire was abandoned several days prior to its discovery on Tuesday.

The U.S. Forest Service said it currently has no leads on who left the fire unattended. Anyone with information about campers with a fire near the Interlaken Resort between Friday, June 7 and Tuesday, June 11 is asked to call 303-275-5266.

Abandoned campfire sparked wildfire burning near Twin Lakes, USFS determines

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.

interlaken fire map.jpg

"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.

Twin Lakes, Colorado fire: Video shows smoke plume, helicopter response

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.