PEYTON, Colo. — The Birdseye Fire, which sparked on Friday and forced nearby residents in Peyton to evacuate their homes, is 100% contained, and authorities said if not for the rapid response, the wildfire would have been much worse.
The Peyton Fire Protection District said the fire started at a home, which was destroyed. The wind blew embers around and started a wildland fire. The fire is now 100% contained, but Peyton firefighters said there may still be some hotspots as of Monday evening. Residents who were evacuated were allowed to return home Sunday.
"If it hadn't been for the large response and the rapid ability of all of our partner agencies, this would've gotten much worse," said Deputy Fire Chief Oakley Revels of the Peyton Fire Protection District.
He said there were 17 different fire agencies on the scene, in addition to law enforcement agencies.
Revels said 11 out of 12 members of the Peyton Fire Protection District are volunteers.
"We're about 110 square miles, and we serve that area with about 12 people... Any volunteer agency always needs personnel. The way of the volunteer is always hard. People have to work a day job and put food on their own tables and yet still try and find time to come serve their community the best they can," Revels said.
Jennifer Hickerson and her family were evacuated because of the Birdseye Fire. She estimated 10 of the 27 acres on her property had burned.
"We're so far out in the middle of nowhere, and just to know that they reacted that fast — it's a miracle," Hickerson said.
Hickerson said it's an important reminder about fire mitigation.
"When you have 27 acres of literal forest, it is so hard to mitigate. And it opened our eyes at how much we really need to start working harder," Hickerson said.
The Birdseye Fire was within the Elbert Fire Protection District, so they took command on Saturday afternoon. The Fire Chief of the Elbert Fire Protection District, Brandon Homer, said it was contained at around 25 acres.
Homer also said the cause of the fire is still under investigation. The Elbert Fire Protection District is working on the case with the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.
The Peyton Fire Protection District said although the cause is undetermined, it is believed to have been a man-made fire.