COALDALE, Colo. (CBS4) – The community living near the quickly growing Hayden Pass Fire in Fremont County is thanking firefighters on the front lines.
“Firefighters are definitely our friends,” said Howard resident Cindy Millsap.
The wildfire had grown to 13,000 acres on Wednesday. Fire crews continue to work on containment lines around Coaldale but the containment remained at zero percent.
“We’ve got firefighters who are not from this community helping out and we just want all of them to know how much we appreciate them being here,” said Millsap.
As fire continues to chew through dry brush and dead trees from beetle kill, especially on the eastern flank of the fire, hundreds of campers at the Rainbow Trail Lutheran Camp have been evacuated in Custer County to Westcliff as a precaution.
A total of 247 firefighters have been assigned to battle the fire, along with seven helicopters making water drops.
“We do not anticipate this fire to be over quickly,” said Nick Sullivan with the U.S. Forest Service. “Everyone knew a fire like this was going to happen given the fuel loading, the beetle kill, the conditions.”
“Wildfires hit home for us,” said Millsap.
Millsap knows how dangerous wildfires can be. Her family narrowly escaped the Black Forest Fire three years ago.
“Volunteer firefighters saved our home in Black Forest,” said Millsap.
The fire was sparked by lightning Friday but didn’t begin to spread until Sunday afternoon. By Sunday evening the fire was listed at more than 5,000 acres. It doubled in size Monday, forcing more than 100 homes to be evacuated.
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