GYPSUM, Colo. (KDVR) — Time was ticking when the Duck Pond Fire started near Gypsum Saturday. The battle was on to stop the fire from being fanned by strong winds.

The goal was to save homes like the one belonging to the Bill Licking family.

“We were literally loading up as much as we could grab in an armful and just run out of the house. And it was just hectic,” Licking said.

Although the fire was small in the beginning, firefighters were called from several departments to help.

“A lot of the energy on the firefighting side was making sure we were putting protections of life, safety and property above all else,” Eagle County Office of Emergency Management Director Birch Barron said.

That call for additional help may have helped save entire neighborhoods. The fire crept into backyards, just yards from homes, but firefighters came through.

“They were running lines, as you can see, and they were trying to protect the houses. We had three in our backyard. They had our house and our neighbor’s house. And they were posted up just protect the house,” Licking said.

Fire officials say mitigation by homeowners also played a big role. Every bit helped — due to high winds, there was no air support.

Firefighters and a community’s fire mitigation effort worked together to save people’s lives and homes.

The director of emergency management said less than 24 hours before the Duck Pond Fire started, there was snow on the ground here. That goes to show just how big of an impact the drought continues to make on so many lives

Firefighters continue watching hotspots at the Duck Pond fire.