Bent County Fire Now 90 Percent Contained

By: KKTV News Email
By: KKTV News Email

Firefighters say they have made good progress on the wildfire in Bent County. Thirty-nine fire agencies and 54 total agencies have assisted in containing the fire, which ignited Saturday afternoon.

Planes flew over the fire all day, dropping water on the flames below. The air drops and the calmer weather Wednesday made a huge difference, with fire 90 percent contained by Wednesday night. Air drops resumed at 9 a.m. Thursday.

The fire cut power to the Ft. Lyon prison Wednesday, but officials say that the power is back up at the facility; the power supply is intermittent, but the prison has backup generators available.

Officials at the prison say they hope to back up to full power by Friday. The prison did not need to be evacuated.

Inmates from the prison at Buena Vista are helping the firefighters in Bent County. They're described as low security-risk, highly-trained crews.

The fire flared up from about 11 Tuesday night until about 1 a.m. Wednesday, spreading to the south southeast of Las Animas. As of Wednesday evening, the fire has burned about 14,000 acres.

Tuesday evening firefighters did a "back burn," setting fire to the area between the wildfire and some threatened structures. Five homes were temporarily evacuated. They burned about 2,000 acres.

Air drops began at 8 a.m., and continued all day. The plane came from Kansas, and picked up water in La Junta before flying to the fire. Crews worked to make as much progress as possible Wednesday, with extremely windy conditions expected Thursday.

The fire is mostly in a river bottom, burning cottonwoods, brush and grass.

Sixty-seven firefighters are currently working to get the fire out. As of Wednesday morning, the fire is 80 percent contained.

Evacuation orders were lifted late Monday night after the fire continued to spread. At that time, people living in 80 to 100 homes were evacuated. No other evacuations have been ordered and no more are expected.

The wildfire is burning near Highway 50 about a quarter-mile west of Ft. Lyon.

Authorities reported the fire 85 percent contained late Saturday night, but the high winds overnight caused the fire to spread again.

According to the Chief of the La Junta Fire Department, one truck was burned Saturday afternoon. One firefighter also sustained some minor burns.

A deputy with Bent County told 11 News that the fire, which started around County Road 16 and County Road JJ, had only burned up about 800 acres in that area before it exploded in size overnight.

The Red Cross sent some staff to support the crews battling the fire. The Red Cross is also providing meals to those who need it.

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  • by KN Location: Las Animas on Apr 14, 2011 at 08:25 AM
    I don't understand why everyone is putting down the firefighters. They are risking their lives to save ours. The Bent County Democrat didn't even MENTION the Bent County firefighters, yet they mentioned every other fire department helping.
  • by mel Location: las animas on Apr 13, 2011 at 10:54 PM
    I really wish everyone would quit talkin trash and be a little more supportive. I'm sure that bent county will call in back up if it gets much closer. Just keep everyone in your prayers please.
  • by TT Location: Wiley on Apr 13, 2011 at 06:46 PM
    I thank all the people out there working on containing the fire. Without you I'm sure it could have would be much worse. I hope all continue to get better and no one else gets hurt. Thanks again. Keep up the great work. Thank God for the plane from Kansas!
  • by falconco Location: co on Apr 13, 2011 at 05:52 PM
    Thanks also to the inmate fire fighters from Buena Vista. I hope they are afforded the opportunity to be firemen when they're paroled.
  • by nick Location: lamar on Apr 13, 2011 at 03:37 PM
    A big THANK YOU.. to all the firemen and women and the families of these people for being there for us and risking their lives fighting this fire and the many more that have happened and I am sure to the many more we will see this year...God Bless you all...
  • by MD Location: Canon City on Apr 13, 2011 at 01:42 PM
    At least the inmates are finally being put to good use. Better than sitting on their butts all day wasting our tax dollars.
  • by .... Location: las animas on Apr 13, 2011 at 01:03 PM
    As far as the fire being 85% CONTAINED and firefighters BACK BURNING to prevent if they did not do that it would have been in the town of LAS ANIMAS it was CONTAINED! after the back burn.. They it spread the other direction. So really if you want to say things maybe you should know what your talking about before you open your mouth and say things.
  • by C.J. Location: Las Animas on Apr 13, 2011 at 09:36 AM
    The Las Animas Fire Department has done a great job with this fire. As of Tuesday night there have been no houses lost and that in itself is amazing with the size of the fire. The local communities have come together in a great way with food and drinks for the Firemen. These volunteer fire fighters are working insane hours and have been since Saturday moring. I know everyone from around Las Animas is extremely thankful for the work that they have done to this point.
  • by A. Fireman Location: from colorado on Apr 13, 2011 at 08:15 AM
    With all of the infinite wisdom in regards fire fighting, one would think that more people would go down and volunteer with there local departments and share what they know about firefighting. I do not presume to know the changing dynamics of this fire or the decisions made by incident commanders during this incident, but one thing I do know is that when you are in trouble, need help, or have a fire or other emergency related problem, the local volunteers are the people that show up to render aid. Give them a break and give them a hand for what they have done, because the fire could be and would be a lot worse without them.
  • by Anonymous on Apr 13, 2011 at 07:09 AM
    I dont understand.. It was 85 % consumed.. Then for fire officials to re-light it to prevent? HA! Ya that was a good idea now look what it did!
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