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Wildfire burning near Colorado´s Lake County's Twin Lakes prompts evacuation, pre-evacuation orders

Lauren Penington, The Denver Post on

Published in Science & Technology News

DENVER — A wildfire burning on 164 acres of land in the Interlaken Historic District near Twin Lakes — a popular hiking and camping destination about 22 miles southwest of Leadville — prompted multiple evacuation and pre-evacuation orders Tuesday.

“Please evacuate the area of Interlaken and County Road 25 as there is an active fire in the area,” the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said in a Facebook post just before 3 p.m. Tuesday.

The sheriff’s office issued multiple pre-evacuation orders for Lost Canyon Road from County Road 30 down to Balltown, a small residential area on the east side of Twin Lakes, around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Although the pre-evacuation orders were initially lifted Tuesday night around 9:15 p.m., the sheriff’s office reissued the pre-evacuation notice for Lost Canyon “until further notice” at 7:34 a.m. Wednesday.

Lake County Dispatch first received reports of a potential fire at the Interlaken Historic District near Twin Lakes Colorado around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, the sheriff’s office said in a statement on social media.

Resources from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Leadville Lake County Fire Rescue, Lake County Search & Rescue, Vail Fire & Emergency Services, Chaffee County Fire Protection District, Red White & Blue Fire District, Summit Fire & EMS District, the U.S. Forest Service and St. Vincent Health’s Ambulance Service responded to the blaze Tuesday.

The fire is burning on U.S. Forest Service land, so fire suppression responsibilities have been turned over to the forest service, the sheriff’s office said Tuesday.

At 5 p.m. Tuesday, the fire was estimated to be burning on 164 acres — about the size of 124 football fields.

The Interlaken Historic District buildings are not threatened at this time, the sheriff’s office said Tuesday. Fire staff are on-site in the historic district to provide structure protection efforts.

 

Hikers and campers in the area of the fire were evacuated by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and search and rescue staff.

Wednesday morning, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an air quality health advisory for southern Lake and northern Chaffee counties. The health advisory started at 9 a.m. Wednesday and will last until 9 a.m. Thursday.

Locations affected by the smoke include, but are not limited to, Twin Lakes, Granite, Americus and Buena Vista.

“Heavy smoke has been observed Wednesday morning near the Interlaken Fire in the Twin Lakes area, with smoke also extending southward along State Highway 24 and the Arkansas River into Americus and Buena Vista,” state officials said in the advisory.

In areas with thick or thickening smoke, residents should remain indoors — especially people with heart disease or respiratory illnesses, as well as the very young and older adults, officials said. People should limit activity outside when smoke is present and consider temporarily relocating.

If the smoke lessens visibility to five miles or less, the air quality has reached unhealthy levels, state officials said.

Smoke is expected to diminish by late Wednesday morning as daytime mixing of the atmosphere deepens and winds increase, but heavy smoke could redevelop in the area late Wednesday night into early Thursday morning, state officials said.

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