COSTILLA COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A wildland fire in Costilla County has burned 4,000 acres as of Thursday afternoon and continued to burn out of control. The fire has burned some structures after it broke out near La Veta Pass Wednesday evening.
The Spring Fire has prompted evacuations in Forbes Park between Fort Garland and La Veta. About 2,500 people have been evacuated from the area.
Tracy Wetzler told CBS4’s Rick Sallinger that her home in the Forbes Park area was probably one of the first to go. She said she is trying to keep her spirits up and is grateful no one was hurt and that her animals are OK.
Authorities say some structures have been burned by the wildfire but won’t confirm whether those structures are homes, outbuildings or businesses.
Kay Hazlett told CBS4 she had gathered her most important possessions together in case she got word to get out. She asked a state fire official the probability of the fire crossing route 160. Phil Daniels with state fire prevention and control told her the winds are unpredictable and they determine the movement of the blaze.
Officials put the fire estimate at 4000 acres during an afternoon news conference, but the fire continue to burn steadily after that.
Officials said there were 80 to 100 firefighters battling the blaze, along with fixed wing aircraft dropping fire retardant and helicopters making water drops. Fire crews had to be pulled out because of the danger of the advancing flames at one point.
Dry conditions, rough terrain and strong winds gave the fire the upper hand.
The Costilla County Sheriff’s Office said it was still assessing the damage Thursday and will update evacuated residents in the afternoon.
At around 9 p.m., officials ordered a pre-evacuation notice for Wagon Creek after they say the fire was moving in that direction.
Evacuees were told they can stay at a Red Cross shelter at the Fort Garland and Blanca community center at 17591 E. Hwy 160 in Blanca.
Another shelter has been opened at Huerfano Community Center, 928 Russel Street in Walsenburg.
“Red Cross volunteers will be on scene and there will be cots, blankets, food and water as needed,” officials said.
The fire sent a large plume of smoke in the area. Fire officials asked people not to stop on the highway to take pictures or look at it.
The county is also on a Stage 2 fire ban.
A Type two incident team is being brought in for Friday provide more manpower and expertise.
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