COLORADO SPRINGS — A fire broke out on Blodgett Peak Wednesday morning on a day of high fire danger, with some wind gusts above 35 MPH. Concern continued for days with more periods of intense wind. But on Sunday, the Colorado Springs Police Department declared the fire had “concluded” and cancelled pre-evacuation orders for homes near the Peregrine subdivision.
The fire was started by an illegal, abandoned camp fire according to the U.S Forest Service.
In contrast, the Colorado Springs Fire Department reported the fire was only 50 percent contained Sunday.
In its afternoon update, the Pike and San Isabel National Fire Service reported its helicopter did not see any smoke on Sunday morning, but had to stop additional flight missions due to “erratic winds.” The department reported seeing smoke in the late afternoon.
Helicopter did not see any smoke during this mornings recon flight, did not fly any more missions because of erratic winds, there’s occasionally smoke visible in the late afternoon hours.
An additional flyover is scheduled for Monday, over the burned area, which has been nearly impossible for firefighters to get to thus far.
A helicopter did several water drops Friday morning and a multi-agency squad hiked up to the fire to begin containment initiatives.
The U.S. Forest Service said with the combination of the tough terrain, wind conditions, and no escape routes and safety zones for ground crews it was deemed too dangerous for firefighters Thursday.
“We are using the resources that we have available to us,” Fire Information Officer Ralph Bellah said.
The wind brings up grim memories of how the Waldo Canyon Fire started in 2012. Some who live nearby question why crews weren’t working on putting out the flames when the winds died down in the early morning hours on Thursday.
“Knowing that there was a window of opportunity that was lost, it just doesn’t make any sense and honestly it’s infuriating cause I know what is going to happen,” Vince Mione said.
“I’m just shocked and worried it’s going to be a repeat of what happened last time so my biggest concern is we need to put this thing out before it turns into what happened with Waldo,” Ray Reilly said. “No one can predict what’s going to happen with the wind and which way the wind will go.”
The fire even has some people changing their plans for the holidays.
“With this going on, I think I’m going to have to change my plans because the winds are picking up and the fire is still there and so I’m fearful as to what might happen,” Reilly explained.
“Just get this over with so that we can have a wonderful Christmas and not have to worry about sleepless nights and wondering if our house is not going to be here and we are going to have to evacuate,” Mione added.
Colorado Springs Fire Department will monitor the fire overnight.
UPDATE: Two large airtankers dropped fire retardant on the fire just before sunset Wednesday evening. Although the fire continues to burn, crews have decided to not staff the blaze overnight.
Instead, Colorado Springs firefighters will patrol the area and monitor the fire.
The United States Forest Service (USFS) will take control of the fire at 9:00 a.m. Thursday. Resources ordered for Thursday’s shift include one type 2 hand crew and a type 3 helicopter.
Blodgett Fire Details
- Size: .7 ac
- Location: El Paso County, Pikes Peak RD, .5 miles N of Colo Springs, CO. South of the Air Force Academy,
- Jurisdiction: USFS with a unified command with CSFD
- Resources: USFS, El Paso County, Air Force Academy Fire Department, Colorado Springs Utilities, Pikes Peak OEM, Colorado Springs Police Department, Colorado Springs Fire Department
- Containment: 0%
- Structures Threatened: NA
- Evacuation: pre evacuation for Peregrine Sub Division , notified by reverse 911
- Closures: Blodgett Open Space is closed to recreation activities
- Cause: Under Investigation
- Fuels: Spruce Fir with dead down timber, shrubs, grass
UPDATE: According to CSFD, pre-evacuations have been ordered as a precautionary measure as crews continue battling the fire.
In a recent update, CSFD said wind gusts are hindering crews’ efforts to extinguish the fire. At last report, crews expect the fire to grow to just over an acre large.
Due to the fire’s location, it took firefighters approximately 1.5 hours to reach it. CSFD hoped to use aerial support, but wind gusts have made that impossible.
FOX21 will update as more information becomes available.
ORIGINAL STORY: According to CSFD Captain Michael Smaldino, the fire is less than an acre large. Firefighters are currently hiking up the mountain to reach the fire.
No evacuations have been ordered.
Wind is a concern as most of FOX21’s viewing area is under a Red Flag Warning.
CSFD and the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) are aware of the fire and respectfully ask people not to call dispatch to report it.
This is a developing story. FOX21 will update as more information becomes available.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said the fire was over an acre large. That was incorrect. Instead, crews expect the fire to grow to be over an acre large.