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Wildfire west of Colorado Springs grows to 1,100 acres (Local Tips & Reviews)

The fire was reported at 10:52 a.m. Thursday in Park County, officials said, before it spread to Teller County amid strong winds. (Photo courtesy of Teller County Sheriff’s Office)

A fire fanned by high winds west of Colorado Springs has burned at least 1,100 acres as of Friday morning, officials said.

The 403 fire started south of Lake George in Park County on Thursday morning before spreading to Teller County, forcing dozens to evacuate, according to the Teller County Sheriff’s Office. Officials said the fire started on a county road, west of the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. 

“We don’t know how the fire is going to go. We’re supposed to have some wind gusts up to 50-some miles per hour and sustained winds around 27 to 29 mph,” Sheriff Jason Mikesell said during a news conference Friday. 

Firefighters with Park and Teller counties, alongside the U.S. Forest Service, worked to protect buildings in the area, he said. As of Friday afternoon, no one has been reported injured in the fire and no buildings have been burned.

“We hope to have a good resolution but we’ll just see how the day goes,” Mikesell said. 

Officials prompted evacuations within a mile of the fire’s origin about 30 minutes after the fire was reported by a resident at 10:52 a.m. Thursday, Lt. Jennifer Plute with the Park County Sheriff’s Office said. The sheriff’s office is working with the Forest Service to investigate the cause of the fire, she said. 

More resources to fight the fire are expected Friday. Helicopters will drop water on the fire, if the winds allow, officials said. 

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment issued an air quality alert for parts of Park and Teller counties Friday, urging people to stay inside if the smoke becomes too thick. “Strong, gusty, southwesterly winds” are expected to continue and smoke could spread to areas northeast of the fire, the department said. 

High winds with gusts up to 50 mph were forecast through Friday evening, according to the National Weather Service.

The county entered a Stage 2 fire ban, prohibiting all open burning.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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