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The Teller County blaze is 87% contained and has burned 2.5 square miles.

Written by Mamie M. Arndt

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Firefighters in Colorado continued working on two wildfires in red flag weather conditions on Thursday with moisture and cooler weather on the way.

High Park fire 

The High Park fire, burning in Teller County about 5.5 miles west of Cripple Creek, has scorched about 1,572 acres, or about 2.5 square miles since starting on May 12. The fire is 87% contained, fire officials said on Thursday. About 360 people are working on the fire.

A red flag warning for critical fire safety concerns was posted Thursday by the National Weather Service from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for widespread areas of Colorado, including the fire area where temperatures were in the upper 70s with about 13% humidity and winds gusting to around 38 mph.

“Cooler temperatures and precipitation in the form of rain and snow are expected for the weekend,” fire officials said.

Hotshot crews on Thursday continued working east of Booger Red Hill and Fourmile Creek, said Dan Dallas, incident commander, in a Thursday update.

Fire officials urge the public to remain vigilant and use caution when traveling on roads adjacent to the fire area. All road closures and evacuations on the fire have been lifted.

Plumtaw fire 

The Plumtaw fire is buring 7 miles north of Pagosa Springs. An evacuation order for the Lost Valley of the San Juans area, in northern Archuleta and southern Mineral counties, remains in effect.

The 735-acre fire is 0% contained and 184 people are working on the fire. The cost of battling the fire is $1.1 million to date, fire officials said Thursday.

On Wednesday, crews secured containment line off of Fourmile and Plumtaw roads. Cloud cover aided firefighters Wednesday, but critical fire conditions, and a red flag warning — with hot, dry and windy weather — were posted on Thursday for the area.

Firefighters were working Thursday to stop the fire from crossing Fourmile Road.

“Fire managers have to practice risk-based decision making and keeping our firefighters and the public safe is the number one priority,” said Incident Commander Brad Pietruszka, in a news release. “Potential still exists for the fire to cross Fourmile Road, but well-rested crews are better prepared to make good, safe and effective decisions.”

Medano fire

At about 3 p.m. Wednesday, lightning sparked a grass fire at the entrance to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

Multiple fire agencies responded to the 306-acre Medano fire, which was 100% contained on Thursday.



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Mamie M. Arndt