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Junkins Fire 50 percent contained

CUSTER COUNTY, Colo. — The Junkins Fire reached 50 percent containment as of late Sunday, officials said.

Nearly 1,000 crew members are working to battle the blaze. The fire has scorched 18,132 acres and firefighters project total containment by Nov. 15.

There have been nine homes and 17 other structures lost in the fire.

In close cooperation with the incident command team, two Colorado National Guard helicopters will be released from fighting the fire in Custer and Pueblo counties as of Sunday evening.

Since beginning aerial fire suppression operations Oct. 18, Colorado National Guard aircrews have flown more than 70 flight hours and have dropped more than 100,000 gallons of water on the fire.

(Image: Pueblo West Fire Department)

(Photo: Pueblo West Fire Department)

“Working closely with the incident commander, we depart this mission knowing we’re leaving the remaining fight with the most capable firefighters and civilian aircrews,” a spokesman for the Guard said. “We’re always honored to be able to support our communities when needed.”

Four Colorado National Guard members are continuing to support the incident commander with a search-and-rescue helicopter on standby at Freemont County Airport.