July 15, 2008

Highway 115 Reopens As Firefighters Struggle With Blaze

By The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.

Jul. 15--Wind shifts erased the gains made Tuesday by firefighters at Fort Carson, who initially contained a grass fire by 50 percent before watching the high winds trigger the flames to full capacity about 3:30 p.m.

The flames ignited from a spark from a lawn mower three miles south of Gate 6, near Camp Falcon, a youth camp just off Highway 115.

There is no threat of structural damage, said Jake Jacob, deputy director of Emergency Services with Fort Carson, who added that crews from the Colorado Springs and El Paso County Fire Department were working in conjunction with firefighters from Fort Carson to squelch the 300-acre outbreak.

Highway 115 was reopened after authorities had shut down the area south of Gate 1 because of heavy smoke over the road.

Rural fire crews are on the scene of multiple wildfires near Ellicott as well. Crews at Fort Carson received aerial assistance from a helicopter dispatched by Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Jacob said.

Meanwhile, reports about blazes near the intersection of Ellicott and Sanborn roads were first received about 2:43 p.m.

The fire off Ellicott Road was out by 3:45 p.m., at 132 acres, said Ellicott Fire District Capt. Michael Henley. Flames swept through grass on a private ranch, apparently ignited by lightning.

Callers gave several locations for the blaze, leading firefighters to believe there were multiple starts.

About 35 firefighters were called in to control the blaze, Henley said. Assisting were Falcon, Ellicott, Peyton, Schriever Air Force Base, the Air Force Academy and Pikes Peak Fire Rehab.

Reporters Brian Hughes, Lance Benzel and Alexis Fitts contributed to this story.


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Copyright (c) 2008, The Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colo.

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