Evacuees may be allowed home | VailDaily.com

Evacuees may be allowed home

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Kara K. Pearson/Post IndependentKarl Brauneis, Information Officer with the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team, answers questions relating to the New Castle Fire during a media briefing Thursday morning at Coal Ridge High School.

NEW CASTLE, Colo. (AP) ” Fire officials said Thursday they may allow evacuees to go home later in the day as calm winds and higher humidity helped stop the spread of an 1,800-acre wildfire in rugged western Colorado mountains.

“It is looking good,” said David Boyd of the Bureau of Land Management. “Today the goal is to keep the fire from spreading.”

The fire remained 50 percent contained and some spots were burning inside the perimeter, which is not a problem, said Boyd. He said 300 firefighters were working the fire, aided by water drops from helicopters.

The National Weather Service forecast light winds later in the day. Boyd said clouds were moving in, which would lower temperatures and raise humidity. The late morning temperature was a moderate 75 degrees.

Even though conditions improved, firefighters remained cautious because of the steep terrain and unpredictable winds. Boyd said afternoon winds usually come from the west, but once they funnel into South Canyon along the Colorado River, they can shift directions with little notice.

Residents of 90 homes in the Canyon Creek Estates subdivision were evacuated Monday and Tuesday. The same homes had been threatened by the Storm King Fire, which claimed the lives of 14 firefighters in 1994, though no homes were lost. Storm King burned the east side of Canyon Creek, and this week’s fire is on the west.

Federal agencies and many counties in western Colorado have imposed fire bans because of high to extreme wildfire risk. The forecast called for the elevated threat to continue at least through Monday.

West of the New Castle fire, a second blaze had charred more than 1,000 remote and rugged acres but was nearly contained. All but 30 of the 120 firefighters were being sent home.

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