Colorado wildfires: Lopez Fire forces evacuations in Saguache County but firefighters report no growth

Saguache County Office of Emergency Management
The Lopez Fire burned 85 acres within three hours of being reported on Sunday, June 12, 2022.

Updated at 8:30 a.m. on June 15, 2022:

After two days of suppression efforts, the Lopez Fire is about 50 percent contained as of Wednesday morning. The U.S. Forest Service said the fire has not grown significantly, but the agency expanded its size assessment to 92 acres on Tuesday after additional aerial mapping.

An initial investigation into the fire's cause found it was sparked by lightning, according to a statement.

Crews are still on-site to mop up hot spots. Winds up to 15 mph are expected in the area through the weekend.

Fire crews have slowed the growth of a wildfire that broke out in southwest Colorado on Sunday, triggering a mandatory evacuation notice for residents of the La Garita Creek area in Saguache County.

The Lopez Fire was first reported around 4:30 p.m. on Sunday. It began about 10 miles north of Del Norte on U.S. Forest Service land, according to the agency, which called in a pair of single-engine air tankers and a helicopter to help control the situation.

Officials say the fire did not grow overnight, but it is not yet contained. So far, it has burned about 88 acres – the first 85 acres of which burned within three hours of the fire being reported.  Firefighters are hopeful they’ll make more progress as temperatures drop later in the evening. 

Initial evacuation orders were downgraded to a pre-evacuation notice Monday morning, but the Saguache County Sheriff said people nearby should stay on alert in case they need to leave. No structures were damaged by the fire as of 1 p.m. Monday. 

The cause of the fire is under investigation.