Southern Colorado is continuing to fight harsh wildfires that began Monday morning in Custer County, leading to mandatory evacuation orders in select counties.
The so-called Junkins Fire in Custer County began around the location of east Westcliffe and west of Wetmore, the Denver Channel reported. Although the cause of the fire has not been confirmed, it has burned around 11,000 acres, according to reports. Temperatures reached 90 degrees on Sunday in nearby Pueblo.
The evacuation area includes Rosita Road East and the Junkins park area. Other evacuation locations include “the North Creek area from the County Line to North Creek Cutoff,” according to the Denver Channel. Highways 96 and 65 are closed.
Custer County Office of Emergency Management confirmed that there were 130 homes throughout the evacuation area, and a pre-evacuation warning was issued for the Beulah Valley area. Roughly 140 properties have received a pre-evacuation notice, which could affect around 3,000 people.
Shelters in the Colorado State Fair Ag Palace in Pueblo and at Valley Bible Westcliffe have opened.
The National Weather Service confirmed that the hazardous fire weather conditions would persist through this evening. Elevations of 10,000 feet will also see gusting winds of 75 mph throughout the rest of the day.
The heavy winds and low humidity count could push the fire further, too. Locals in the area have been warned by health officials that those with respiratory problems should stay indoors because of the excessive smoke. The National Weather Service forecast also advised against any “outdoor burning” in the area, including grilling or barbecuing.
The region was hit by wildfires in early October, prompting residents in Beulah and the surrounding areas to evacuate.