The 117 fire in Colorado’s El Paso County was 25 percent contained on April 18, 2018, and encompassed 40,892 acres. Mandatory evacuations were issued, 1,000 people were evacuated, and 23 homes were destroyed, although some of those dwellings were vacant.
You can read a spot forecast for the 117 Fire from the National Weather Service here. The El Paso County Sheriff’s Department wrote on April 18: “Evacuations remain in place for #117Fire. Although people have returned to their homes, it is still very dangerous and we would encourage them to remain evacuated.”
You can see a map of the 117 fire’s perimeter for April 18, 2018 here and above. Here’s a map of current fires in Colorado:
The 117 fire was a fast-moving blaze. “A deputy sheriff said he was driving at 35 mph near the fire Tuesday and it was moving faster than he was,” Wildfire Today reported.
The U.S. National Weather Service in Pueblo Colorado wrote, “Dry southerly winds will bring the potential for rapid fire growth on Thursday to much of the area. On Friday and Saturday, a slow moving storm system will move over Colorado bring some precipitation to the region. The system will be relatively warm on Friday with snow levels remaining around 9000 feet. Some light precipitation will continue into Saturday morning when colder air moves into the region, and some snow could fall as low as around 7000 feet.”
Here’s a look at the “burn scars” from the blaze.
Helicopters were dropping water on the 117 fire.
Here’s an aerial view of fire retardant being dropped on the fire.
The NWS also wrote on the 117 forecast page on the evening of April 18: “Precipitation is not expected at the site today or tomorrow. Winds will remain much lighter today compared to yesterday, becoming southeast this afternoon, while RH values will drop below 15%. Winds will remain light and become easterly this evening before ramping up again from the southeast on Thursday. Gusty winds and low RH values on Thursday will lead to borderline critical fire weather conditions.”
According to KOAA-TV, “County officials estimate the evacuation zone is approximately 305 square miles, encompassing 370 homes affecting about 1,000 people. The county has enacted Stage 2 fire restrictions, which means all outdoor burning in the county is prohibited.”
Wildfire Today reported: “The fire is still active in El Paso and Pueblo Counties but the wind speeds recorded at Fort Carson and Pueblo have decreased Wednesday morning — calm to five mph, compared to gusts of 50 to 80 mph Tuesday afternoon.”
The sheriff has posted fire readiness tips here. Under the header “mandatory evacuation,” the Sheriff’s Department wrote: “You are in immediate danger. Load your family and pets into your vehicle, and GO NOW.Once you have left the evacuation zone, you will not be allowed to re-enter until the danger has passed.”
That’s different from voluntary evacuations, which were described as “the fire (or other danger) is moving closer to you. A mandatory evacuation order may be issued at any time.Now is the time to prepare for immediate evacuation.” Pre-evacuation tips were given as follows: “There is no immediate danger to your home, family, or business, but the fire (or other danger) may be moving toward you.Now is the time to get ready. Refine your evacuation plans, and gather the things you’ll need if you must evacuate.”