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Large fire south of Colorado Springs burns multiple structures, forces evacuations

Large fire forces evacuations in southern El Paso County

FORT CARSON, Colo. - A large fire, which began on the Fort Carson training range, spread across county lines, causing hundreds of evacuations on Friday. Fort Carson officials said the fire started on the post and joined with another blaze that sparked up from a fire Thursday near Squirrel Creek Road. Fort Carson has yet to determine the exact cause of the fire on Post.

KRDO asked Fort Carson why live-fire training was taking place on a day that offered ripe conditions for a wildfire, and an official said soldiers need to train for an upcoming deployment.

El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said during a news conference that firefighters initially focused on protecting structures and evacuating people and livestock in the area. The firefighters then began attacking the fire line itself. Elder praised the efforts of the firefighters and the response from multiple fire departments.

A central command center was also set up at the Pikes Peak International Raceway. 

Fort Carson and the El Paso County Sheriff's Office have confirmed that multiple structures were lost in the fire, but they could not specify the type of structures and how many. 

Fort Carson says the fire had burned between 300-400 acres before spreading off Post. Fort Carson estimated the fire to be about 2,100 acres at 6:30 p.m. About 40 percent of the burn was in El Paso County and some flames spread down to Pueblo County. The rest of the burn was on Fort Carson.

 

 

The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office ordered evacuations in the area of Midway Ranch southeast of the Pikes Peak International Raceway. Controlled traffic access was allowed for evacuation purposes at exit 119 on Interstate 25. Around 100 homes were put on evacuation order in that area. 

The El Paso County Sheriff's Office says evacuations are in place for Indian Village Heights and Armadillo Heights, along with High Stakes Vw. and Chaps Vw. east to Interstate 25, south to the county line and west to Boca Raton Heights. The boundary was then expanded north at about 1 p.m.

Around 250 homes in El Paso County were placed under an evacuation order, according to officials at the El Paso County Office of Emergency Management. 

The Red Cross set up an evacuation center in Fountain at the Fountain Valley Baptist Church at 500 Alabama Avenue. Donations can be taken to that location.

Large animals are being accepted at the Colorado State Fairgrounds at Gate 6 on Small Ave, and Pueblo Animal Services located at 4600 Eagleridge Blvd. and the Land of Ahs in Fountain is taking in small animals.

The fire is currently spreading, and multiple fire departments are working on containing a perimeter. Colorado Springs Fire Department is sending two engines and two brush trucks along with a Battalion Chief, Security Fire Department has sent brush trucks, and other departments are sending equipment as well.

Fort Carson has called at least four helicopters to help extinguish flames, according to emergency dispatch traffic.

In response to dry conditions in the area, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and the Manitou Springs Police Department have issued burn bans.

This is a developing story, check back frequently for updates.

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