Bent County Weekend Fire Summary and New Developments

Above Photos Courtesy of Jill Smith (all rights reserved)

Pictures for Video Courtesy of John Robinson and Mark Menz

The weekend fire that engulfed over 7,000 acres of prairie in Bent County continued to burn in some locations this Monday afternoon. The fires were situated on the north and south side of the Arkansas River and at one point on Saturday, jumped across highway 50 east of Ft Lyon, forcing the highway to be closed. Smoke plumes west of the John Martin Dam area were visible from Lamar again Monday afternoon, and according to the Hasty/McClave PIO), the department was contending with some flare ups on the south side of the River at the Rural Creek Fire and near Ft Lyon where some hot spots have reignited, but not to the degree of scope from the weekend. Reports are the Rural Creek Fire has been 100% contained, but fire departments remain on the scene. Some fires continue in an area inaccessible to being extinguished with water, but the departments are confident the fire there will just burn itself out. The new area, being fought by the Las Animas department is now 65% contained from last night’s flare up and wind direction change. The new fire is attributable to the wind change which brought the fire to a new area of fuel on the prairie.

At its peak on Sunday, the smoke from the fire was visible from as far away as Burlington, according to one eye-witness. As many as twelve different fire departments from southeast Colorado responded. There were no serious injuries associated with the fire which destroyed some fire department equipment and farm machinery and burned at least two out buildings. Several power poles and signage near the reservoir were burned. Two firefighters were treated for second degree burns and smoke inhalation on Saturday, but returned to duty on Sunday. Hasty residents along country road JJ were evacuated Sunday when the fires approached the visitor’s building at John Martin Dam. Those flames were extinguished and the residents were allowed to return to their homes. At one point, fire departments had to contend with three main burn areas on Sunday. Access to the top of the dam had been blocked by the Colorado State Patrol, which also closed highway 50 on Saturday from mile markers 405 to 428 between 1pm and 7pm. There has been no word on the cause of the fire at this time from the Bent County Fire Department.


Filed Under: AgricultureLaw EnforcementPublic Safety


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