Wildfire moves away from Lake George, now 50 percent contained
More crews arrive to Park County blaze
As of Friday afternoon firefighters battling the Arkansas fire said they had it 50 percent contained.
After a tense day, residents of Lake George in Park County hoped they avoided the worst from the Arkansas wildfire burning on Thursday.
By late afternoon, the fire had grown in size from 30 to 40 acres but moved several miles southwest of town, into the Pike National Forest. The area has plenty of fuel to burn and rocky terrain, authorities said.
Also, more firefighters arrived Thursday, bringing the total to 140. Some came from as far away as Grand Junction. Crews planned to spend the overnight hours trying to contain the blaze and stand by to protect homes and other property if needed.
Authorities used Reverse 911 to warn residents and recommend temporary evacuations. The number of people who evacuated with a mile radius of the fire is unclear. Eight structures within that radius were not in immediate danger, authorities said.
Lightning sparked the fire on Wednesday night. Authorities said calm winds and cloudy skies helped slow the fire's spread. A helicopter scooped up giant buckets of water from a nearby lake to douse the flames.
Jim and Mary Jane Kulp of New Jersey were relieved to see the fire miss town. They have spent summers at a family home there for 50 years.
"I figured they managed well during the Hayman Fire," said Mary Jane Kulp, referring to the 2002 wildfire that remains largest in Colorado history. "They'll manage this time. If I was going to worry about anything, it would be my cat."
Authorities ask that drivers avoid stopping along U.S. 24 to watch the fire and take pictures because the highway should be kept clear and safe for emergency vehicles.
The blaze is called the Arkansas Fire because it's located near an area known as Arkansas Gulch.
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