COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - With the exception of some hot spots, El Paso County says firefighters have finally extinguished the lone holdout from the Carson Midway Fire -- a stubborn tire fire that had forced a handful of residents to remain evacuated days after all other evacuees went home.
The tire fire, burning on 20800 block of Prairie Fire Point, was not a danger to nearby structures, but the smoke it put out was. Residents were forced to stay away because the smoke was so hazardous.
In a previous report by 11 News, we reported the fire was burning on a wall constructed from hundreds of old tires, rocks and dirt. A single tire typically contains the equivalent of three to four quarts of motor oil.
The rest of the Carson Midway Fire was declared 100 percent contained March 18, two days after a fire on one of Fort Carson's training ranges melded with a fire that reignited in the Hanover area.
All fire personnel were released from the fire with the exception of the Hanover Fire Department, which had firefighters working the tire fire. The Environmental Protection Agency sent people to help this week.
The cause of the Carson Midway Fire is still under investigation. It burned about 3,300 acres and destroyed two homes and multiple outbuildings. The Fort Carson portion of the fire sparked on range 155, which is on the south end of the post. Driven by high winds and ample dry fuel, the fire quickly ran through the range and moved toward the Midway Ranch area, which straddles the El Paso/Pueblo county line. People in both counties were evacuated.
The homes lost were both reportedly in El Paso County. None were in Pueblo County or on Fort Carson. About 40 percent of the fire was reportedly burning on El Paso County's land.
Fort Carson garrison commander Col. Ron Fitch announced Friday they hoped to have the fire out by midnight, but it was still not quite halfway contained by Saturday afternoon. The fire is not expected to reach Colorado Springs or Pueblo. He added that despite the high fire danger, soldiers will continue to train as they prepare to enter dangerous areas.
The entire Midway Ranch subdivision, including the portion in Pueblo County, was evacuated Friday. About 100 residents in Pueblo County were evacuated, not including those in El Paso County. The boundaries for the mandatory evacuation are:
- North: Donner Pass View
- South: County Line Road
- East: I-25
- West: Fort Carson Route 1
Deputies said controlled traffic access for evacuation purposes only is at I-25 exit 119 at Rancho Colorado Blvd. Citizens were urged to stay away from the area so emergency response vehicles could safely respond.
Small animals that need a place to stay during the evacuation can be dropped off at the Land of Ahs at 12599 Jordan Road in Fountain or Pueblo Animal Services at 4600 Eagle Ridge Blvd. The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region also sheltered 24 animals overnight.
Large animals can be taken to the Colorado State Fairgrounds. Those needing to use the shelter can enter at Gate 6 on Small Avenue near the horse stalls. The Pueblo County Sheriff's Office urged anyone who finds a large, stray animal to take it to the fairgrounds.
Erratic winds helped the fire explode during the day Friday, but the wind quieted down by Friday evening. The wind is not expected to be as big an issue Saturday. However, deputies stressed that residents should do their part to help with mitigation. They urged homeowners to trim down high grasses and brush that is close to their homes.
According to the fire department, there are air resources and several other departments working to put the fire out and help with traffic and evacuation control. A request was also put in for help from departments from the state of Arizona.
The fire flared on a day where there was high fire danger and just a day after residents were evacuated in the same area for a separate fire. The high fire danger remains in place for Saturday.