Saturday, December 3

Sheriff’s vehicle causes Security-Widefield fire, evacuations lifted


COLORADO SPRINGS — Residents in a Security-Widefield neighborhood were forced to evacuate after a spark from an El Paso County Sheriff’s vehicle caused a wildfire.

The evacuation orders have been lifted but Powers Boulevard remains closed southbound from Milton E. Proby to Grinnell Blvd.

About 50 homes were evacuated, but no structures were lost in the fire. CSFD says the fire came within feet of some structures and even burned some retaining walls near the Amazon facilities.

The fire started near the 5000 Block of Alturas Drive. The Sheriff’s Office says a reporting party contacted the Sheriff’s Office due to a suspicious vehicle. A deputy drove out over some grassland to make contact with the suspicious vehicle, the car reportedly got stuck and the catalytic converter ignited the fire. The Sheriff’s Deputy driving the vehicle immediately told crews that the fire started and is reportedly ok.

CSFD says they estimate the fire is around 100 acres, and while the fire is not contained they believe the fire may be done “moving.”

According to Colorado Springs Fire Department Captain Mike Smaldino, the report of the fire came in around 3:30. Multiple emergency agencies and over 100 fire personnel have responded to the fire.

Crews are expected to be in the area monitoring the fire, which will include “burn out operations” which means putting fire on the ground to take out tall grasses.

The airport was under a shelter in place for a couple of hours, and approximately 200 people could not leave the building.

Currently, all inbound flights are shut down.

At 6:30 p.m. the time the shelter in place was lifted and travelers with vehicles parked at the airport are allowed to leave, however, travelers cannot be picked up from the airport due to road closures.

The airport is telling travelers not to call the airport regarding flights, and to contact airlines directly.

Even before a fire threatens your home, you’ll want to have an emergency plan in place for you and your family. This should include ways to get in touch with everyone, a safe meeting place, and what actions to take if a disaster were to strike.
If a fire is burning nearby, pack your car ahead of time with necessary documents, medications, clothing, and other supplies.

When flames threaten, act fast! Don’t feel the need to be told to leave if you feel unsafe.

If told to evacuate, you must go now. Finally, return home only when officials say that it’s safe to do so.

First Alert 5 Weather Forecast

Strong to dangerous winds and extremely low daytime humidity will create locally extreme fire conditions in southern Colorado.

The two main areas for extreme fire danger are central to western El Paso and Huerfano counties. These two counties are under a high wind warning from the morning through 12 pm today as wind gusts could reach 60 to 70 mph.

Relative Humidity values could drop to as low as 2 percent across portions of southern Colorado today. Between that dry air and broad gusts over 30 mph, if a fire were to spark, it could undergo explosive growth.

Temperatures will generally be about 10 degrees cooler today than yesterday with more widespread highs in the 70s and 80s with only a couple 90s out near the CO/KS border.

Colorado Springs forecast: High: 77; Low: 42. Localized extreme fire danger is expected in El Paso County today, mainly for areas along and west of I-25 where wind gusts could be up to 60 or even 70 mph. Daytime humidity will fall to or even below 5% which will only add to the extreme fire danger.

Wildfire safety tips to consider before, during and after the flames

  • Avoid activities with open flames or sparks
  • Avoid power equipment that creates sparks
  • Obey burn bans
  • Properly discard cigarettes
  • Keep vehicles off of dry grasses
  • Call 911 to report smoke or fire

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