Evacuation orders lifted for High Park Fire, now 69% contained

Posted at 10:50 AM, May 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-18 12:53:39-04

DENVER – Evacuation orders on the High Park Fire were lifted at 10 a.m. Wednesday after firefighters reached 69% containment on the fire, which has burned 1,572 acres in the Cripple Creek area.

The Teller County Sheriff’s Office said residents who present valid ID or proof of residency will be the only people allowed back into the areas that were evacuated, and firefighting crews will still be working in the area.

Most of the area west and northwest of Cripple Creek made been under mandatory evacuations, and areas further north under pre-evacuation orders, for several days because of the fire. The fire was at 37% containment early on Tuesday.

The containment lines for the fire include its full western edge and most of the northeastern edge of the fire behind homes on Lakemoor Drive. The uncontained area remains on the southeastern side of the fire, according to Teller County.

A map from the morning of Wednesday, May 18, 2022, showing the boundaries of the High Park Fire in Teller County.

Dan Dallas, the incident commander for Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team One, wrote in Wednesday’s fire update that people would still see smoke inside the fire boundary even within areas that are contained.

Fire crews are working Wednesday to connect fire lines into Four Mile Creek and continue securing the perimeter, Dallas said. On the area that was uncontained as of Wednesday morning, crews will work on fire lines to try to gain more containment.

Crews are also working on the eastern edge to shore up protections for structures if the fire runs east, Dallas wrote., including around the Mount Pisgah communications site.

Temperatures in the area will be in the low 70s, with winds out of the south around 12 mph and gusting to 20 mph. Relative humidity will be in the upper-20s, according to Dallas.

There is a 65% chance of rain and storms in the area Wednesday afternoon ahead of a red flag warning that will be in effect Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and much drier and windier conditions.

There were 432 personnel working the fire, which was first reported last Thursday, as of Wednesday morning.

Teller County said the Department of Human Services secured Emergency Temporary Assistance funding for families affected by the fire, which is available for children with families with kids under age 18. That funding can be secured at the DHS office in Woodland Park (719-687-3335) or the Aspen Mine Center in Cripple Creek (719-689-3584)