Colorado Springs and Teller County wildfires, May 12-13
Updated May 13 at 9:22 a.m.
The Alturas fire in Colorado Springs at Milton E. Proby Parkway and Powers Boulevard caused mandatory evacuations for residents in the area and temporarily placed the Colorado Springs Airport under a shelter-in-place order.
The Colorado Springs Airport lifted a shelter-in-place it was under for about an hour due to the fire. The airport had been diverting all inbound flights.
An evacuation center was set up for the Alturas Fire at Calvary Chapel Eastside at 5070 Edison Ave.
Multiple fire crews and the Regional Partners Incident Command responded to the grass fire.
Colorado Springs Fire Marshal Brett Lacey said at a press conference that grass fires are often more dangerous than ones in forested areas because they spread rapidly, often "at the speed the wind is blowing."
Skylark Mobile Home Park fire: 8 homes destroyed
Eight homes were destroyed at the Skylark Mobile Home Park at 3831 N. Cascade Ave. due to a separate fire.
Residents were evacuated and sent to VASA Fitness on North Nevada Avenue.
Fifty firefighters responded to the blaze, which is fully contained now. No injuries were reported. Residents have not been allowed back in yet. Propane tanks in the park were venting flames 50 feet in the air.
Teller County fire
A wildfire burning in Teller County south of Pikes Peak has also forced evacuations. The blaze is also the cause of a large plume of smoke coming from the area.
Evacuations are between County Road 1 and County Road 11. Everyone in this area is ordered to evacuate immediately.
Akerman fire: Evacuations lifted
The Colorado Springs Fire Department has lifted evacuations for residents near the 6700 block of Akerman Drive, on the east side between Dublin and Stetson hills, east of Powers Boulevard.
A grass fire started burning in the area around 11:19 a.m. Thursday. Investigators are not sure what sparked the fire, which slightly damaged two homes. No injuries have been reported.
Around a thousand residents were evacuated due to the Akerman fire. Many gathered at the Minor League Baseball stadium UCHealth Park.
Jessie Turner had moved to the evacuated neighborhood less than a week ago from California. She’s not even finished unpacking.
“We were outside picking up the boxes, they were all blowing around and then I heard sirens," Turner said. "Then, I heard my alarm go off on my phone and it said evacuate Summer Grace and I said, ‘What? This is us.’”
“I always wanted some excitement. I was expecting a snowstorm or some hail, not a fire.”
Another resident, Gina Fortunato, was working from home when she went upstairs to grab lunch and saw and smelled smoke.
“I heard some sirens off in the distance; didn’t really think much of it," Fortunato said. "And, then I went out the front and I kind of pieced it together that, ’Oh crap, I live right next to the creek. There’s a lot of brush. I know the fire danger is up today. This is not good.'”
School District 49 asks for students to be picked up
School District 49, which covers parts of northeast Colorado Springs and the Falcon area of El Paso County, has asked parents to pick up children as soon as possible:
- Stetson Elementary students can be picked up at the school
- Skyview Middle School students can be picked up at the east entrance of Sand Creek High School; bus riders will be picked up at Sand Creek High School two hours after normal release times
- Ridgeview Elementary Students can be picked up at the north entrance of Vista Ridge High School; bus riders will be picked up at normal release times at Vista Ridge High School
Students who do not have immediate transportation will be relocated to the high school gyms until rides can be arranged, district officials said.
This is a developing story that will be updated.
More to know about wildfires in Colorado:
- Dangerous weather conditions: Fire conditions will reach ‘extremely critical’ level going into the weekend
- Longer fire seasons: Peak Colorado wildfire season will start earlier and last longer, predict forecasters
- Building safer homes: Fire officials want to create a powerful new body to enforce statewide wildfire building standards
- Evacuation planning in the Springs: Emergency evacuation planning could become part of Colorado Springs city code
Editor's Note: A previous version of this story misspelled Akerman Drive.
Southern Colorado is changing a lot these days. We can help you keep up. Sign up for the KRCC Weekly Digest here and get the stories that matter to Southern Colorado, delivered straight to your inbox.