The Spring Fire

12 07 2018

Spring Creek Fire, June 27th

On Wednesday June 27th, in what probably seemed like an innocuous  event, reports say that a man started a campfire in the forest outside of the town of Ft. Garland, Colorado.  Over 15 weeks without rain, strong SW winds, and other “ripe” conditions, that campfire blew up into what would become the 3rd largest wildfire in Colorado history torching over 108,000 acres of forest.

Spring Creek Fire, June 28th

We were staying in La Veta at Circle the Wagons RV Park and after a short walk to town noticed the small plume of smoke on Wednesday afternoon.  The fire exploded the following day and by 10PM the entire Cuchara Valley had been evacuated, and La Veta was on pre-evacuation status.  By Friday morning the fire had consumed over 40,000 acres and was under the control of Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black.  With the unknown evacuation status of La Veta, we decided to move the trailer further north, out of the evacuation zone so that we don’t get “locked out” if the fire should move east.

Sunset from Circle the Wagons , La Veta

 

By Saturday, as the fire continued to grow and began moving north of the assumed containment of Highway 160, a second command team was added, Team Blue.  By July 3rd,  being called the “two headed monster”, the fire is well established north of Highway 160 and had consumed upwards of 80,000 acres.  Weather continued to play a factor but Team Black was finally making some headway on south-eastern containment lines.  However, the fire has already destroyed over 100 homes in Forbes Park, a forested subdivision on the south west side of La Veta Pass.  With weather finally improving, the fire’s last major push occurred on July 5th when it expanded to over 100,000 acres.  In the north, Team Blue is finally able to place containment lines that keeps the fire from spreading east of country road 520 and north of highway 69 protecting the Navajo Ranch and Major’s Ranch subdivisions.  By July 10th, with containment at nearly 100% for the south section, the Village of Cuchara is safe and Team Black is on their way home.  By July 16th Team Blue is on their way home with 91% containment and total acres at 108,405.  All evacuations are lifted.  In all, 140 homes were destroyed and 120 damaged.

We still haven’t been back to Circle the Wagons.  But, we’re sure the scars on Mt. Mestas and Mt Silver are severe, but we still have the gorgeous Spanish Peaks, the fun town of La Veta and our new favorite hang-out, the Dog Bar in Cuchara.  And, we’re hopeful that there’s no place much safer from Colorado wildfires than on the back side of a burn scar.

Silver Mountain Burns

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3 responses

21 08 2018
just2exploring

Oh, WOW!
Do you think you’ll go back to Circle of Wagons, especially since it’s now on the “back side of the burn scar”?

21 08 2018
smallhomebigyard

All is good at Circle the Wagons. We’ve been back about a week now. It got pretty quiet when they want on pre-evac, but stayed busy during the fire with first responders and evacuees. Now back to a “normal” reservation schedule and we’re hoping for a less intense Labor day weekend. The Dog Bar is good too, we had lunch up there on Sunday.

22 08 2018
Karen Heydman

Wow, that’s pretty exciting! Glad to hear things are back to “normal”. I have some burn scar in my view from a fire we had to evacuate for in 2000. With that we also got a sense of security – hopefully not the false kind!! How’s your house coming? I hope you are almost done living out of the RV! I don’t know about down there, but winter is on its way up here!

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