Fire evacuees to be allowed back in homes
Evacuation orders will be lifted at 9 a.m. Friday after a wildfire near Glenwood Springs failed to spread for a second straight day Thursday and crews continued to increase its containment.
Some 15 to 20 homes in the rural Lookout Mountain area southeast of Glenwood Springs had been evacuated on Tuesday.
After spreading rapidly when it began on Monday and also on Tuesday, the Red Canyon Fire held steady in size Wednesday as firefighting efforts were aided by overcast skies and calmer winds. While Thursday’s weather was sunnier, fire spokesman Bill Kight said crews had made enough progress the previous day that they didn’t lose additional acreage Thursday.
The fire remains at 390 acres and containment is at 75 percent.
“We’re hoping to get this thing buttoned up,” Kight said.
More than 200 firefighters remained on the fire Thursday but Kight said people will start being reassigned Friday. Kight said the firefighting cost probably is close to $1 million and could ultimately total $1.5 million.
At the request of firefighting officials, Holy Cross Energy cut power to a line near the fire for safety reasons. Holy Cross dispatcher Pam LaCount said that has left 23 homes without electricity, but many of those same homes had been evacuated. Fire officials said power to the homes wouldn’t be restored till later Friday afternoon.
Skybeam Internet service said the loss of power in that area had created the possibility of intermittent connectivity in areas such as Glenwood Springs, Basalt, Pitkin County and the surrounding area.
Kight asked for the public’s patience with the power outage until service can be restored.
He also called on people to be careful to try to avoid causing fires in the area.
“Garfield County has been drier than a lot of other places,” he said.
This week’s fire is suspected to have been caused by lightning.
For fire crews, working a blaze in Garfield County has its advantages. The Glenwood Hot Springs Pool this week said it’s granting free admission to its pool and showers for all firefighters on the Red Canyon Fire. The pool said on its Facebook page that the offer is “to thank them for all they are doing to keep us safe!”