East Peak fire 15 percent contained; growth potential high

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DENVER — The East Peak fire, burning in southern Colorado, grew to about 12,966 acres by Monday morning, the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team reported.

The fire is burning on east Spanish Peak, and is 15 percent contained. Given the dry conditions, high winds and steep terrain, some 506 firefighters are on hand to keep the fire from spreading too reapidly.

The town of Walsenburg was on alert. There are about 300 properties within evacuated areas nearby.

The fire had destroyed at least 13 structures by late Friday night according to authorities.

Governor John Hickenlooper declared a disaster emergency for the East Peak Fire. FEMA also authorized federal money to help with the costs of fighting this out-of-control fire.

The fire threatened Interstate 25 as it moved to the east and southeast, but the highway remained open.

Evacuation orders have been issued for residents east of the town of LaVeta, east to I-25 and south of Walsenburg to the Las Animas County Line.

Pre-evacuation areas included Aguilar to the Trinidad city limits and east to I-25. The entire town of Walsenburg is also under a pre-evacuation status.

A shelter was established at the John Mall High School located at 355 Pine St. in Walsenburg.

Evacuated animals, large or small, can be taken to the Fairgrounds in La Veta.

About 180 boy scouts were evacuated from a camp in the mountains of Spanish Peaks Wednesday. Everyone made it out safe. Officials said one structure at the ranch was destroyed.

Spanish Peaks Wilderness Area is also closed east of Highway 12.

Residents can call (719) 742-3882 with questions about the fire and evacuations.

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