Destructive wildfire rages across 45,000 acres of prairie

Wildfire in Washington County, Colo. June 25, 2012

Wildfire in Washington County, Colo. June 25, 2012

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WASHINGTON COUNTY, Colo. — People were allowed to return to their homes in Last Chance, Woodrow and surrounding areas on Colorado’s eastern plains Tuesday after fire raced across 45,000 acres of prairie land Monday.

All evacuation orders were lifted and highways reopened by mid-morning.

Officials believe the fire began at about 1:30 p.m. Monday as a result of sparks from a tire blowout along Colo. Highway 71 near the small town of Last Chance in Washington County. The sparks set some brush on fire. It then burned 45,000 acres.

It burned at least four homes and destroyed seven other structures. A fire truck was also burned when crews were forced to escape from the fast-moving flames.

Flames burned power lines and cut power to parts of southern Washington County.

It took only a matter of hours for the Last Chance fire to become the fourth largest wildfire in state history in terms of acreage burned.

But as of Tuesday, 110 firefighters had a better handle on the blaze, as they declared it 100 percent contained

“Firefighters were most aggressive with their attack (on the northwest side of the fire) to ensure the safety of Woodlin School,” Northeast Public Affairs Collaborative Public Information Officer Deanna Herbert said.

If you have photos of the fire, send them to us at

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