1 Pinon Canyon fire at 23K acres; 3 more in SE Colo.
Ryan Summerlin June 8, 2011
LA JUNTA, Colo. (AP) – At least four wildfires were burning in southeastern Colorado on Wednesday, including one at Fort Carson’s Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site that had scorched up to 36 square miles.
Several air tankers, a helicopter, several engines and hand crews were fighting the fire on the training site, a remote area about 180 miles northeast of Denver. It was one of several wildfires that started Tuesday.
The fire was originally estimated at 39 square miles.
Fort Carson spokesman Randy Tisor said another wildfire had burned about 3,500 acres on the training site and national forest land in Las Animas County.
A fire near La Junta had reached an estimated 9,000 acres, or 14 square miles, and was 10 percent contained. Three structures are threatened and were evacuated.
Another fire in Las Animas County was at about 2,500 acres, or nearly 4 square miles, and it was 90 percent contained. Three structures were threatened, but none has burned.
Fire officials said low humidity and high winds were helping the flames.
In south-central Colorado, a small but fast wildfire led Teller County authorities to recommend evacuations at a subdivision. Sheriff’s officials said the fire that started Wednesday afternoon was roughly 50 acres and was being driven by strong winds. No structures had burned.
A shelter was opened at a church and federal firefighters joined crews from Teller and Park counties to battle the blaze.
While record snowpack in Colorado’s mountains has swollen rivers and creeks, causing minor flooding, the state’s eastern plains are dry and the fire danger is high. The Pueblo and Teller county sheriffs restricted open fires Wednesday.