July 5 (UPI) — A wildfire flared up overnight, damaging or destroying some 250 homes in southern Colorado, fire officials said Thursday.
The Spring Creek Fire — also identified as the Spring Fire or North Spring Fire — consumed 103,357 acres as of Thursday morning and was 5 percent contained. The wildfire was situated near San Isabel National Forest, west of La Veta, Colo., and was active in three counties
Fire spokesman Ben Brack told The Denver Post the blaze, which was started by a man cooking in a fire pit June 27, flared up Wednesday night and created a 300-foot-high wall of fire. A cold front pushed the fire southwest, sweeping over a residential area. It destroyed 132 homes and damaged 119 others.
“It was a perfect fire storm. This is a national disaster at this time,” he said. “You can imagine standing in front of a tsunami or tornado and trying to stop it from destroying homes. A human response is ineffective.”
Officials ordered evacuations in portions of Huerfano County, the San Luis Valley and Las Animas County.
On Thursday morning, officials in Huerfano County issued a flash flood warning for portions of the fire area.
“As water runs downhill through burned areas it can cause erosion and pick up large amounts of ash, sand, silt, rocks and burned vegetation,” the Huerfano County Emergency Management said. “The force of the rushing water and debris can damage or destroy bridges, roadways, and buildings even miles from the burned area.”
Brack said the fire hasn’t caused any deaths or injuries. He said structural damage could grow though, as emergency workers assess the affected area.
“We’re seeing unprecedented fire behavior that pushed this fire through the night. Because the fire has been moving so fast we don’t know exactly know how big it has become,” he said.