YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections


Gain on 1 Fire Front in Colo. Is a Setback on Another

Disaster: With the week-old Hayman blaze 30% contained, flames in another area push toward Durango, where 450 homes are at risk.

June 16, 2002|From Times Wire Reports

LAKE GEORGE, Colo. — Firefighters made progress Saturday against one flank of a stubborn week-old wildfire, but they faced a greater challenge on another side of the blaze, officials said.

"This has been a really good day," fire information officer Terry McCann told reporters, referring to the north end of what's called the Hayman fire, which had threatened the outlying edges of Denver's southwest suburbs. Expectations that the fire would develop new hot spots didn't materialize, and firefighters were able to focus on containing it, he said.

But crews faced a tougher challenge on the other end. "On the south end we had some significant movement," fire information officer Gordon Warren said.

The Hayman fire, about 55 miles southwest of Denver, grew slightly, to nearly 103,000 acres, from 100,000 acres.

Cool, calm weather early in the day helped the fire crews, but there was a possibility of thunderstorms with gusty wind.

Bulldozers headed down a road into the fire area north of Lake George as about 30 residents were allowed in briefly to check on their homes.

Quentin Good, 29, said he jumped up and down after seeing that his log cabin and neighboring gem mine still were intact.

"It is still there, though many of the properties near us have had much fire damage. The firefighters are really doing a good job," said Good, who mines smoky quartz and crystals at the Dreamtime Mine.

About 5,300 people remain out of their homes because of the fire, which has blackened nearly 160 square miles since it started June 8 in the Pike National Forest, apparently originating with an illegal campfire. It had burned to within 40 miles of the Denver city limits.

On the southern edge of the fire, crews put out remaining flames from an earlier backfire set to prevent the blaze from spreading into Lake George, a small recreation community.

About 1,800 firefighters, aided by planes and helicopters, were working on the fire. On Saturday, it was about 30% contained by firebreaks.

But the good news from the Hayman fire was countered by concern about another fire on the other side of the state. The Missionary Ridge fire north of Durango, in southwest Colorado, stood at 18,155 acres, down slightly from 19,500 acres late Friday. But the blaze was moving south toward the suburbs of Durango, where 450 homes were at risk, fire information officer Keven Huffstutler said.

"There's concern because of a potential for a blowup" if winds increase, Huffstutler said.

There are at least seven wildfires burning in Colorado.

Los Angeles Times Articles