by Kirk Woundy
The Royal Gorge Fire release below, from Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team B, is as of 10 p.m. Thursday:
Highway 50 reopens and Evacuations lifted at Royal Gorge Fire
Cañon City, Colo. — Fire officials announced this evening that U.S. HWY 50 was reopened as of 8 p.m. All residents that were displaced from their homes during the evacuation from the Royal Gorge Fire were allowed to return home this evening at 8 p.m. Officials cautioned residents in the previously evacuated area that they will remain on a pre-evacuation notice should fire conditions change. Fire managers, working with cooperators, were also able to determine that the Royal Gorge Tourist Train can begin operations again, once the railway can evaluate when they will be able to resume normal activities. River access on the closed portion of the Arkansas River (from Spike Buck to Cañon City) will be re-evaluated tomorrow, as the incident managers strive to restore the important recreation features that have been impacted by the Royal Gorge Fire.
Today’s weather, along with the hard work of fire crews, assisted in efforts to restore access to the residential and recreation areas. Cooler temperatures, along with higher relative humidity and light winds kept fire activity to a minimum. The fire is currently estimated at 40 percent containment.
Forecasted weather for the next several days calls for continued cooler temperatures and higher relative humidity. Tomorrow, fire crews will continue to construct, secure and mop up containment lines around the fire’s perimeter.
Approximately 450 people attended tonight’s public meeting at the Cañon City High School. Officials were on hand to share the news that U.S. HWY 50 has been reopened and residents could return to their homes, as well as answer to questions from the public. Public Information Officers will be at Macon Plaza Friday to answer questions about the Royal Gorge Fire as the community welcomes the Ride the Rockies participants.
Royal Gorge Fire Statistics at a Glance:
Time/Date Started: June 11, 2013 approximately 1 p.m.
Location: Fremont County, Colorado
Cause: Under Investigation
Fuels: Piñon, Juniper, Sage Brush
Size: 3,162 acres
Resources Committed: Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team B, 2 Single Engine Air Tankers, 1 Very Large Air tanker, 2 Type-1 crews, 2 Type-2 crews, 1 Type-1 helicopter, 1 Type 3-helicopter, 5 engines, 1 dozer, and 2 water tenders