Spring Fire Surpasses 105,000 Acres; Now 35% Contained

The Spring Fire in southern Colorado is now 105,704 acres and 35% contained. The Colorado Department of Transportation anticipates reopening Highway 160 on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. Colorado 12 will remain closed from La Veta to the summit of Cuchara Pass. Colorado Highway 69 will remain closed to all except local traffic; proof of residence is required. Some evacuation notices in Huerfano County have been lifted.

Updated 10:26 a.m., 7/6/18-----As of Thursday evening, the Spring Fire has burned 103,657 acres and is considered 35% contained. 

"You've been seeing 5% for a week now," said Incident Commander Jay Esperance with Rocky Mountain Incident Management Blue Team at a community meeting in Walsenburg Thursday evening. Esperance explained that although fire fighters have been gaining ground, the fire has also grown. "With the good work of our firefighters and the weather that we got, we were able to significantly increase [containment], and I suppose this time tomorrow, you'll even see more."

Multiple areas of the Spring Fire saw rain on Thursday. 

Last updated: Thursday 8:00 p.m., 7/5/18.

Original Post, Thursday 7/5/18, 10:50 a.m.: The Spring Fire is now the third-largest fire in state history. Officials announced the total burn had grown to 103,357 acres—more than 160 square miles—Thursday morning. The blaze surpassed the 2012 High Park Fire and the 2002 Missionary Ridge Fire, which burned 87,284 acres and 71,739 acres respectively.

In 2002, The Hayman Fire consumed 137,760 acres in the Pike National Forest, making it the largest, most destructive wildfire in Colorado history. The second largest blaze, the West Fork Complex Fire, claimed 110,405 acres in Wolf Creek Pass in 2013.

The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control reports 132 homes have been lost to the Spring Fire, 61 have been damaged and more than 2,000 are threatened. Due to the growth of the fire, containment is has remained at 5%. Approximately 1,261 personnel are responding to the fire. Officials do not expect the blaze to be contained until as late as July 31st.  

An updated map showing the growth of the Spring Fire as of Thursday, July 5.
Credit Spring Fire 2018 twitter, @SpringFire2018
An updated map showing the growth of the Spring Fire as of Thursday, July 5.

The fire was first reported Wednesday, June 27th. A 52-year-old man from Denmark named Jesper Jorgensen has been arrested and is facing arson charges. The Costilla County Sheriff's Office says the fire was not started intentionally. Jorgenson is reportedly an illegal immigrant.

Substantial rain fall is forecast over portions of the fire area Thursday. The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Watch for the Spring Fire Burn area. As water runs downhill through burned areas it can cause erosion and pick up large amounts of ash, sand, silt, rocks and burned vegetation. The force of the rushing water and debris can damage or destroy bridges, roadways, and buildings even miles from the burned area, according to Huerfano County Emergency Management.

Portions of U.S. Highway 160 and Colorado Highway 69 are closed due to fire activity. Complete road closure information can be found on the Colorado Department of Transportation website.

Current evacuation information for Huerfano County can be found on the Huerfano County Facebook page. Information for Costilla County is available on the San Luis Valley Emergency website: slvemergency.org.

Last Updated 7/5/18, 10:50 a.m.