FORT CARSON, Colo. — Firefighters contained a blaze near Fort Carson Sunday after it destroyed three homes and several vehicles, though they still had not determined how the fire started at the Army post during a training exercise, officials said.
The 5-square-mile (13-square-kilometer) fire that spread from Fort Carson to the rural community of Midway Ranch on Friday was under control except for a burning pile of tires that a hazardous materials team was battling, according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office. Firefighters were monitoring the area for flare-ups.
Hundreds of people left their homes as the fire raced through the area, but the evacuation was lifted for all but a few homes as of Sunday, the sheriff’s office said.
Though the cause of the fire was still unknown, some residents criticized Fort Carson for not taking more precautions or delaying the training activity that may have included firing live ammunition.
A red-flag warning was in effect that day due to the possibility of a fire quickly spreading in the dry conditions and strong winds. One resident said he and his neighbors asked Army officials to postpone their training, but received no response.
Fort Carson spokeswoman Brandy Gill said that live ammunition is regularly used in training, but she was not certain whether it was being used on Friday. She said she did not know whether there were any special protocols for high fire danger.
“We have to do realistic training,” Gill said. “Our soldiers’ lives depend on it.”
A smaller blaze ignited Thursday in the same area.