Many area residents experienced a bad case of Déjà vu last weekend, as smells of heavy smoke permeated the region
With a red hot fire season kicking into full gear, some thought they were reliving the Hayman and Waldo Canyon blazes again.
But fret not, cautioned area fire crews, who urged people not to call 911. However, residents are advised to remain on their guard, as the area is encountering a bout of ultra-hot and dry weather. On Sunday, burning restrictions were implemented in Teller County, with officials banning campfires and open burning, unless they are done in designated areas and by following strict guidelines. In addition, restrictions are imposed on outdoor cooking and barbecue activities. The burning of rubbish and using any fireworks is strictly prohibited under the ban.
The heavy smoke, which created hazardous conditions in parts of the region, was attributed to a wildfire burning near Hayden Creek in Fremont County. The fire started Saturday and has grown to more than 1,000 acres. It is called the Hayden Pass Fire, according to Fremont County Sheriff’s Office.
Hayden Creek Campground (Cutty’s) on Hayden Creek Road (Fremont County Road 6) was evacuated because of the fire. The campground is on U.S. Forest Land, and U.S. Forest Service required the evacuation, according to Fremont County sheriff authorities.
According to media reports, smoke was visible for miles from several counties, turning skies brown with ash in Canon City. The haze has made its way through a large portion of southern Colorado, but the Forest Service says are no immediate threats to structures or people at this time. However, residents suffering from asthma or breathing problems are advised to stay indoors.
U.S. Forest Service and Fremont County fire crews are actively fighting the blaze. Fremont County Sheriff’s Office asks that people in the area do not call 911 to report the fire, as this will only tie up telephone lines.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
The fire comes in the wake of a spate of super-hot weather in southern Colorado and many parts of the state. The mercury exceeded 100 degrees in Pueblo last weekend and temperatures neared that level in parts of the Pikes Peak region and in Denver As a result, the fire risks are extremely high. “We are a little bit concerned about the risk for wildfires,” said Tom Magnuson, a meteoroligist with the National Weather Service, according to a report in The (Colorado Springs) Gazette.
On Sunday, Teller County issued mandatory burning restrictions that put a halt to any open campfires or outdoor burning activities. Outdoor cooking is still allowed, but only under defined restrictions. For details regarding the restrictions, visit www.co.teller.co.us
These are the first fire-related restrictions Teller officials have implemented in the last year.
Weather experts are predicting a much dryer July than previous years. That’s not good news for local fire departments and emergency responders who had a relatively uneventful season in 2015, when it came to grappling with wildfires in the region.