Fort Carson: Wind a 'huge factor,' but Gate 5 fire under control

Evacuees cleared to return home

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Fort Carson Garrison Commander Col. Ronald Fitch said the fire that sent plumes of black smoke into the sky south of Colorado Springs Sunday is under control.

Fitch spoke to the media at 5 p.m. Sunday to give the update and thanked multiple fire departments from the area for their assistance in battling the blaze.

The fire started shortly before noon near Gate 5, not near any training areas, Fitch said. He added that the gusty winds "played a huge factor" and that firefighters had to stay on top of it for hours to keep it from flaring up again.

"Right now we think we have it well under control," Fitch said. He said any visible smoke will be coming from controlled burns.

About 200 people were evacuated due to smoke inhalation concerns, but they were able to return to their homes and barracks at about 7 p.m., according to the post. Evans Army Community Hospital also resumed normal operations.

An exact size of the fire wasn't given, but Fitch said he was comfortable saying it was under 700 acres. Parts of the fire were difficult to reach by ground crews, so helicopters flew in to drop fire retardant.

Nobody was reported injured.

Earlier story:

Multiple crews are responding to a grass fire that came dangerously close to a housing unit on Fort Carson near the post’s Gate 5.

Fort Carson officials have given very few details, but crews seem to have a handle on the fire are remaining on scene to ensure that today’s high winds don’t refuel the blaze.

According to a statement released by Fort Carson, no structures or people were threatened by the fire as of 2:45 p.m., but several facilities near Gate 5 were evacuated due to concerns of smoke inhalation.

Fort Carson says people inside the Navajo Village Housing area, the Warrior Transition Battalion, and the 10th Special Forces Complex were evacuated. The Fort Carson Special Events Center was set up for evacuees.

The post says Evans Army Community Hospital is diverting patients to civilian health care systems and said patients needing urgent or emergency care should report to an off-post care center or emergency room.

Smoke from the fire could be seen from many areas in the southern portion of Colorado Springs. Fort Carson says the cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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