FORT CARSON, Colo. — A wildfire that started on a southern Colorado Army post amid dry, windy weather jumped the post boundary on Friday, destroyed an unknown number of structures and forced the evacuation of at least 250 homes.
Army Col. Ron Fitch said infantry and helicopter units were training for an upcoming deployment when the fire broke out at Fort Carson outside Colorado Springs.
Officials haven’t said whether the exercise ignited the blaze or whether the training involved firing live ammunition.
Fitch, the garrison commander, said the training had to go on despite the fire-prone conditions.
“We have to train in order to prepare those soldiers,” he said at a news conference.
Fitch and El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said they did not yet know whether any homes were among the structures that were destroyed.
“There are structures that we have lost,” Elder said. “I can’t tell you how many.”
No deaths or injuries have been reported.
An elementary school in the nearby town of Fountain was evacuated as a precaution.
Fitch said the fire was made up of two blazes. One ignited Friday, and an earlier fire flared up and merged with the new one.
The combined fires had burned about 3 square miles (8 square kilometers) by nightfall. Fitch did not know how much of the fire had been contained.
Winds were 20 to 30 miles per hour (32 to 48 kilometers per hour) at the fire Friday afternoon, National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Petersen said. Gusts reached nearly 40 mph (64 kph). Humidity was only about 7 to 10 percent.