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Fire evacuees, vacationers keep close eye on East Peak Fire

Fire evacuees, vacationers keep close eye on East Peak Fire

WALSENBURG, Colo. - Smoke cast a shadow on summer fun for vacationers at Lathrop State Park in Walsenburg Saturday.

The East Peak Fire continued to burn out of control at the base of Southern Colorado's Spanish Peaks outside Walsenburg.

John Ryan and his family spent the day on a Jet Ski in the park's Martin Lake. They were hesitant to make the trip but they were reassured the park was safe from the flames.

"It's right behind your mind. It's there, you can see it, you know. It's sad. It's just sad," saidRyan.

Joyce Mcgrew enjoyed the cool water and sunshine with her family. Smoke plumes near Martin Lake hit close to home - they knew relatives and friends affected by the Black Forest Fire.

"It's hard to come to the top of the hill [in Lathrop State Park] and you can see the fire yet it's so far away," said Mcgrew. "We know that it can change so we are kind of cautious but we have a little fun right now."

In a campsite above the lake, Terry Bloomfield kept a close eye on the fire. The flames forced Bloomfield and his wife Susanne from their home Wednesday.

"We could see the flames easily from our house and it was at least 8 miles away," said Bloomfield. "It was pretty scary. You could see the flames moving down the ridge."

Wind pushed the fire dangerously close to their home. The Bloomfields estimated the fire was moving toward their home - the last update they received indicated it was 2 miles away.

"We have just cut trees, killed trees, cut brush, but if the wind blows, it won't make any difference," said Susanne.

Their neighbor decided not to evacuate. He called the couple Saturday around 11 a.m. with an update on their home. The Bloomfields' home and surrounding neighborhoods were untouched.

"There is nothing on the ranch affected," said the neighbor in a phone call with the couple. "(A map) showed (it was) awfully close, within a couple miles. It has obviously retreated back from us which is good."

The Bloomfields' home was one of 300 homes in the mandatory evacuation zone. The Bloomfields said the good news meant they could rest a little easier. They said they will continue to keep their binoculars pointed toward the fire.


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