WETMORE, Colo. — The Custer County Sheriff says sparking power lines may have started a fire that erupted Tuesday night in southern Colorado, destroying 14 structures including some homes and charring over 2,100 acres by Wednesday night.
The fire was burning Wednesday with zero percent containment. Governor John Hickenlooper signed a disaster declaration for the Wetmore Fire.
FOX31 Denver reporter Chris Jose reports a source informed him that eight of the 14 structures that have been lost are homes.
According to Ralph Bellah, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, between 350 and 380 residents have been evacuated near the town of Wetmore. The fire is burning one mile west of the town, which is approximately 50 miles southwest of Colorado Springs.
Though there have been some hand lines dug, Bellah said there are still 25 homes in the potential path of the fire, which has been given life by the heavy winds in southern Colorado. Those conditions are not expected to improve Wednesday, as Bellah said he expects the gusts to pick up when the sun rises.
Until the winds die down, Bellah said emergency crews will not be able to fight the fire from the air.
There have been some reports that the fire started as a result of the strong wind impacting power lines, though Bellah would not confirm those reports.
“Hopefully we will be able to get more information about the cause of this fire,” Bellah said. “There is also talk about a structure fire starting it. We’re not sure about that either.”