Crews stop further spread of fire on Air Force Academy grounds in Colorado Springs

Courtesy of U.S. Air Force Academy
Air Force Academy fire crews at the scene of the West Monument Creek Fire near Colorado Springs on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024.

Updated on Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024 at 2:26 p.m.

As of mid-day Tuesday, the West Monument Creek Fire burning on the United States Air Force Academy grounds remains 168 acres. Fire crews have increased containment to 75 percent. There are no evacuation or pre-evacuation orders currently in place.

On X, formerly known as Twitter, the U.S. Air Force Academy says its crews will continue to work with the U.S. Forest Service to contain the fire and address hot spots throughout the day. 

According to the incident commander, Fire Chief Ronald Prettyman, Tuesday's forecast bodes well for firefighting operations.

"While some hot spots remain, the fire is no longer spreading," Prettyman said in a release. 

In the time since the fire was first reported on Sunday, officials say helicopters have dropped more than 14,000 gallons of water, targeting hot spots in the affected area. Hand crews have also worked to clear grass and brush in steep terrain to help prevent the further spread of the fire.

The Colorado Springs Fire Department said on X that it will not provide mutual aid resources today.

The Academy campus remains closed to the public. Only Department of Defense ID cardholders, contractors, and District 20 students are allowed entry. Some road closures remain in effect.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Original story below.

A wildfire that ignited on U.S. Air Force Academy grounds Sunday afternoon continues to burn Monday morning, according to academy officials.

"U.S. Air Force Academy fire crews monitored the fire overnight with some firefighting," officials said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter. "We expect air assets from Fort Carson (two helicopters) to assist with water dumps on the fire this morning."

The fire, which officials are calling the "West Monument Creek Fire," is about 20 percent contained, according to the academy. It grew slightly overnight to about 168 acres.

As of 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, pre-evacuation notices for residents of the Douglass Valley and Pine Valley housing complexes had been lifted. The Air Force Academy posted on X that while some roads in the area are still closed, the Child Development Centers and Military Treatment Facility will reopen Tuesday.

The large plume of smoke was visible yesterday from parts of Colorado Springs and surrounding areas. The academy posted on X saying the fire had spread quickly at the time.

Colorado Springs Fire Department and Air Force Academy personnel were on the scene of the fire Sunday.

The cause of the fire is unknown. No injuries have been reported and no structures are threatened at this time.

Strong gusts of winds, low humidity and warm temperatures are creating critical fire conditions in Colorado Springs, according to the National Weather Service. Conditions will remain favorable for quick fire spread through Monday.

CPR News' Stephanie Rivera contributed to this report.