TELLER COUNTY, Colo. — Firefighters working west of Cripple Creek at the High Park Fire have increased the blaze's containment to almost 90%, according to Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team One.
The fire remains 1,572 acres, but the containment bumped from 69% around 11 a.m. Wednesday up to 87% on Thursday morning and all evacuations were lifted Wednesday. The uncontained section is along the south end east of Booger Red Hill and Fourmile Creek.
Lathan Johnson, operations section chief trainee with the incident management team, said the southeast section has lots of cliffs and rocks, so it's difficult to get firefighters to the flames. That area saw a small flareup Wednesday, so multiple crews will make sure it stays put Thursday, he said.
In addition, Johnson said firefighters will have a heavy presence along the entire eastern side of the fire to make sure the winds do not push flames past the fire lines.
The High Park Fire was reported on May 12 about 5.5 miles west of Cripple Creek in Teller County.
A red flag warning is in place for the area from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday with wind gusts up to 38 mph. This dry and windy weather will diminish into Friday, when cooler temperatures and precipitation will move in through the weekend. The incident management team will transition control back to a local team on Saturday, Johnson said.
Crews will continue to patrol both the contained and uncontained parts of the fire to search for hotspots, according to the incident management team. Johnson said Thursday's condition will be a good test of the firelines.
As of Thursday morning, 367 fire personnel were working at the site. Some resources may be released for assignments elsewhere.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Teller County remains under Stage 2 fire restrictions.
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).