Update: Spring Fire In Southern Colorado Grows To More Than 78,000 Acres

Jul 1, 2018

The total acreage burned by the Spring Fire continues to grow. As of Tuesday morning, officials say 78,941 acres, more than 120 square miles has been effect. The containment level of the fire decreased to 5% Tuesday, down from 10% the day before. 104 homes are confirmed destroyed.

According to the official Spring Fire Facebook page managed by the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, the change in containment resulted from the fire having grown thousands of acres, increasing the perimeter, thus decreasing the full percentage of containment.

The North Spring Fire burns during the evening of Monday, July 2.
Credit Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team / Spring Fire 2018 Facebook page

The fire has formed two distinct columns—one north of Highway 160 and one to the south. Officials say the North Spring Fire was very active yesterday and it continued to grow overnight. Additional ground resources have been ordered and are continuing to arrive to assist in firefighting operations. An update on the south column on the fire will be released sometime Tuesday.

Another active fire weather day is expected, with hot dry conditions expected to develop throughout the day. Highway 160 remains closed from La Veta to Ft Garland. Highway 12 is closed in the Cuchara Valley area. Highway 69 is closed from milemarker 5 to milemarker 42.  

Last updated: 11:15 a.m., Tuesday 7/3/18

Monday's post, last updated 7:11 p.m. 7/2/18: The Spring Fire has burned 56,820 acres and is 5% contained. A second Type 2 Incident Management Team arrived yesterday and is expected to oversee efforts north of Highway 160, while the current Rocky Mountain Incident Team Black focuses on efforts south of the highway. Mandatory evacuations remain in place, as well as pre-evacuation notives. Highway 160 remains closed, as does Colorado Highway 12 between La Veta and Cuchara Pass. The Colorado Department of Transportation has also closed Colorado 69 in both directions from north of Walsenburg to the the Huerfano/Custer County Line.

New evacuations are in place in Huerfano County for Chama, Redwing, Malachite, and Badito south of Highway 69. These areas had been on pre-evacuation notice. Gardner remains on pre-evacuation notive.

Costilla County officials will be holding a notification meeting today at 6:00 for Forbes Park landowners, and a Disaster Assistance Center will open at Centennial School in San Luis. More information is here.

The Air Force has activated C-130 planes out of Peterson Air Force Base to help support firefighting efforts.

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Sunday's post, last updated 8:27 p.m., 7/1/18: A second Type 2 firefighting team is en route to help fight the Spring Fire burning in southern Colorado. Fire officials say the fire has developed two fronts, one on the north, and one on the south. With weather conditions expected to grow more critical in the week ahead, fire officials anticipate the blaze will continue its trend of intensity and growth. 

The second team is expected to arrive Sunday and on Monday, management of fighting the fire will likely be split between the two teams using Highway 160 as the division point. U.S. Highway 160 remains closed between La Veta and Fort Garland. Colorado Highway 12 remains closed between La Veta and Cuchara Pass.

Fire officials say a drone caused all air operations to cease yesterday, as they pose a danger to aircraft and their pilots. They ask that any suspected drone use be reported to law enforcement.

Pre-evacuation notices went out to additional locations in Huerfano County last night, including the town of Gardner. 

As of 8:08 p.m. Sunday night, the Spring Fire has burned 50,033 acres with now 5% containment. The majority of that acreage is private land, but other areas are managed by the state, Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service. 550 fire personnel are on scene.

Costialla County officials confirmed Friday that a number of structures have been lost. The Costilla County Sheriff's Office and county assessors are beginning to identify lost structures and ownership. Notifications will be made in person, and more information about that process is here. A total of more than 2000 homes are evacuated in Costilla and Huerfano Counties.

Jasper Jorgenson, 52, was arrested by Costilla County Sheriff's Deputies and faces arson charges in connection to the Spring Fire burning in southern Colorado.
Credit Costilla County Sheriff's Office

Yesterday, the Costilla County Sheriff's Office announced the arrest of 52-year-old Jesper Jorgenson, who faces arson charges. The investigation is still underway and no further information has been released other than to say that the fire was not set intentionally.

Last updated: 8:27 p.m., Sunday 7/1/18