LAS ANIMAS COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) — The East Fork Fire in southern Colorado grew to 1,100 acres Friday, forcing the closure of two Colorado wildlife areas and the evacuation of a state park in New Mexico.
The fire measured 450 acres 24 hours earlier. It resides entirely in Colorado at this hour but is encroaching on the state line and threatens two valuable New Mexico watersheds.
According to the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, which is managing the firefight, the East Fork Fire’s recent growth occurred on its southern and eastern edges.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife opted to close nearby Lake Dorothey and James M. John state wildlife areas on Friday. The territory of the areas extends from the New Mexico border north about 11 miles along the eastern edge of newly created Fishers Peak State Park.
Per CPW, Lake Dorothey SWA is a 4,500-acre property popular for hunting bear, deer, elk and turkey, and is accessible only from New Mexico.
New Mexico authorities began evacuations of campers in Sugarite Canyon State Park. The park is located on the Colorado–New Mexico state line six miles northeast of Raton, New Mexico.
The fire continued to burn Friday in a steep canyon fed by dead fall trees. Mike Trujillo, CPW area wildlife manager, said strong winds had caused the fire to expand and smoke was reported hindering visibility along Interstate 25, which runs along the western edge of Fishers Peak State Park.
Fifty-five personnel on the ground are accompanied by two large air tankers, a pair of Black Hawk helicopters from the Colorado Army National Guard, and the state’s Multi Mission Aircraft. The state released a video taken by the MMA plane.
Local fire departments are also assisting.
The state management agency was asking for donations of cases of bottled water and nonperishable food items for fire crews. The supplies are to be dropped off at Fire Station 1 at 1605 Santa Fe Trail and Fire Station 2 at 1102 Nevada Avenue, both in Trinidad.
The East Fork Fire started Aug. 22 from a lightning strike about 11 miles southeast of Trinidad, according to the Las Animas County website.