The fire burning in Bear Creek Canyon on the west-side of Colorado Springs is now 100% contained. Better mapping determined that the fire was contained to just three acres. The fire burned on National Forest and El Paso County land in East of Bear Creek Park. It burned in oak brush, grass and ponderosa pine.
Firefighters believe this fire was started by lighting from a storm that moved through the area on Sunday night.
More than 50 firefighters including 19 from the Arapahoe Roosevelt Inter-Agency hot shot crew from Denver were part of the effort to battle the flames from the ground. The terrain and the weather conditions in the area made it important for fire fighters to jump on the attack early.
Not only were there ground crews fighting the fire, but air attacks battled the fire from above as well. Those aerial attacks disrupted what was a normal Fourth of July for so many.
At around 3:00 p.m. on Monday, a helicopter landed in the middle of Bear Creek Park to pick up a forest service firefighter. His goal was to assess the fire from above and create the plan of attack. The helicopter's grand entrance didn't go unnoticed by those enjoying their holiday picnics and parties.
"We saw them land and saw firefighters get out and take out some gear and I was like, um how close is this thing really I was kind of worried truthfully," Michael Delano said.
"Have you every seen anything like that before? I mean nothing exactly like a helicopter landing in the middle of a family park, but it's Colorado Springs what can't you see in Colorado Springs," Marcus Reid said.
In three hours the fire grew just two acres. According to the El Paso County Sheriff's’s Office, the aerial attacks may have helped calm the fire down. By 6:00 p.m. on Monday, the air attack was called off for the day.
"With the dry conditions and the wind, the potential for it to go much larger in an instant are very high," Sgt. Mike Schaller said.
Although the large plume of smoke was visible for hours, it wasn't enough to ruin the fun for those spending the Fourth of July with friends and family.
"(A police officer) just came and told us they were going to use this as a helicopter landing so we had to move everything on the other side of the park so kind of sinks but it is what you make of it so it's what life is," Rocco Bachara said.