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Royal Gorge Fire burns 48 structures, 20 percent contained

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ROYAL GORGE, Colo. — While the Black Forest Fire burned at least 360 homes Thursday, another major fire was burning 55 miles to the southwest, on the other side of Colorado Springs.

The Royal Gorge Fire burned dozens of structures around the iconic Royal Gorge Suspension Bridge according to reports. It threatened the bridge itself and even burned some wooden planks on the bridge.

Seasonal employees have lost their jobs at the park, but the permanent workers insist they will reopen as soon as the fire is over.

Authorities said the fire had burned 3,162 acres by Thursday afternoon. They also said 48 of the park’s 52 structures were lost.

LINK: View the fire perimeter

“We have made good progress on the fire today without any accidents or injuries,” said Dennis Page, incident commander for the fire.

The Royal Gorge Fire triggered the precautionary evacuation of 905 inmates from the Centennial Correctional Facility, located in Canon City.

Most of the inmates are “special needs,” meaning they receive medical treatment, said state corrections department spokeswoman Alison Morgan.

LINK: Time lapse video of the Royal Gorge fire starting

The famous Royal Gorge Bridge that spans the Arkansas River is intact but needs to be inspected before it can reopen for tourists, a spokeswoman for the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park said.

The suspension bridge, which is 956 feet above the river and among the highest in the world, is made of more than 1,000 wooden planks.

“We did not know until today whether the bridge was still standing,” Gorge Bridge and Park spokeswoman Peggy Gair said.

Gair says fire at the park burned a visitor’s center, a tramway building, a carousel and several restaurants. Cable for the tram fell into the gorge

There were other fires in the state as well, including in Grand and Huerfano counties. Black Forest was the biggest of the blazes.

CNN contributed to this report

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