Mop Up Operations Contain Bent County Fire

Highway 50 between Las Animas and Hasty opened to traffic around 7pm Saturday night, but firefighters from five counties are continuing their efforts to contain the last remnants of the fire that began just after 1pm Saturday afternoon.

The fire, which consumed about 800 acres of grassland and several farm structures, was in the John Martin Dam area as of 10am Sunday morning. Two firefighters received minor injuries from the fire, one with smoke inhalation and another received flash burns to his face. Firefighting trucks from Wiley and La Junta were reported damaged in the blaze. The evacuation of homes in the affected area was lifted when the fire was reported 80% contained late last night.

No cause for the fire has been established yet, but it is believed to have begun approximately 5 miles east of Las Animas and quickly spread west, driven by wind gusts in excess of 50 mph and dry rangeland conditions. At one point, the fire spread across highway 50, forcing authorities to close the highway for six hours. Traffic leaving Lamar was diverted at the Wiley Junction. Saturday afternoon, a separate fire broke out along the Arkansas River bed, but was brought under control by 5pm. Smoke-filled air was evident to residents east of the fire Sunday morning.


Filed Under: AgriculturecommunityLaw EnforcementPublic SafetyThe Journal AlertWeather


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