Damage assessment begins at Carson Midway Fire in El Paso County

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — Authorities in southern Colorado have begun assessing damage from a wildfire that started on a U.S. Army installation, jumped the post boundary and destroyed an unknown number of structures.

El Paso County sheriff’s office spokeswoman Natalie Sosa said Saturday that property owners in the area were being asked not to return home until further notice.

At least 250 houses were evacuated after the fire broke out at Fort Carson outside Colorado Springs as infantry and helicopter units trained for an upcoming deployment.

An official with Fort Carson said about 60 firefighters continued to fight the fire Saturday that had burned about 3,300 acres by midday.

The fire was 40 percent contained as ground and air crews continued operations.

An elementary school in the nearby town of Fountain was evacuated as a precaution.

The combined fires had burned about 3 square miles by Friday night.

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A fire burning on Fort Carson's Range 155 Friday traveled off post and burned an unknown number of homes in a large area south of Fountain, according to the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

A Fort Carson official said the fire was sparked during a training exercise Friday morning.

This is the third fire that has scorched the base since March 4. Strong winds made the fire's behavior erratic. It was estimated to have burned 2,100 acres by Friday night in El Paso and Pueblo counties.

Residents of 250 homes in Midway Ranch were evacuated. They won't be allowed back in the area until the fire is knocked down and firefighters determine it's safe.

The Red Cross set up an evacuation site in Fountain at the Fountain Valley Baptist Church, 500 W. Alabama Blvd., for those affected by the fire.

Land of Oz at 1299 Jordan Road in Fountain and Pueblo Animal Services at 4600 Eagleridge Boulevard were providing shelter for small animals.

A shelter for large animals was operating at the Colorado State Fairgrounds in Pueblo.

An official from Fort Carson said Friday night that a flare up of the Hanover Fire from Thursday and a new fire that started on the Army base Friday came together to form the Carson-Midway Fire.

There was no estimate on how much of the fire was contained.