Jacqueline Kirby, a spokesperson for the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, answers media inquiries on Monday afternoon at the Wal-Mart parking lot in Woodland Park, regarding the Rampart Range fire that has already torched 10 acres, and resulted in the evacuation of 37 homes. The Wal-Mart center emerged as the media staging area for Monday’s fire scene that startled many residents.
Evacuations occurred for Schubarth Trail, the Farish area, Rampart Reservoir and Rampart Range Road, sough of Loy Creek. Fire rescue crews had to fight the blaze on foot due to the terrain. Several area department responded to the scene, along with members of the Colorado Springs Utilities.
The fire was started southwest of the reservoir. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation. The firefighting efforts also were assisted by helicopters and air support for much of the afternoon.
The blaze broke out shortly after 1:30 p.m. during a time of extreme fire danger, capped by high winds. Kirby advised residents to remain vigilant and keep posted of media reports. The fire didn’t threaten any homes in Woodland Park or the lower Ute Pass, but the area was flooded with emergency service and police vehicles. Despite a flurry of rumors, U.S. Hwy. 24 was not shut down.
Fire officials contend that the conditions are ripe for a major blaze. Besides the Rampart blaze, crews had to combat the Junkins fire in Custer County.
Stage One fire restrictions are now in place for unincorporated El Paso County until further notice, according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
Stay tuned for further fire updates on the TMJ website, www.mountainjackpot.com, and on our facebook page.