Weston Pass & Chateau Fires burn thousands of acres west of Colorado Springs

Map Weston Pass and Chateau Fires

Above:  Map showing the locations of the Chateau and Weston Pass Fires, with data from about 11 p.m. MDT June 30, 2018.

(Originally published at 7:20 am MDT July 1, 2018)

The Chateau Fire is burning 24  miles west of Colorado Springs 7 miles northwest of Cripple Creek. Since it was reported June 29 it has been managed by Lohmire’s Type 4 Incident Management Team and has blackened 1,425 acres according to Sunday’s National Situation Report.

Another fire in that part of Colorado, the Weston Pass Fire, was reported June 28 and had burned an estimated 4,138 acres by 11 p.m. Saturday, which was the best guess after a mapping flight that was partially obscured by clouds. It is 64 miles WNW of Colorado Springs and 16 miles southeast of Leadville. Musser’s Type 3 Incident Management Team has been handling this fire.

Weston Pass Fire
A helicopter works the Weston Pass Fire. Undated & uncredited photo uploaded to Inciweb June 30, 2018.

Todd Pechota’s Type 1 Team mobilized Saturday and will eventually be assuming command of both incidents.

Both fires are highly visible and have structures nearby, which may explain dispatching a Type 1, rather than a Type 2 Team. But we have also noticed a recent trend in Colorado to attack fires more aggressively than in the recent past. Crews and aircraft have been responding earlier and in greater numbers than in previous years. This is a welcome development.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

19 thoughts on “Weston Pass & Chateau Fires burn thousands of acres west of Colorado Springs”

    1. Much thanks to those out there risking their lives for others. PLEASE STAY SAFE. Prayers to all in the path and those directly effected by these fires.

  1. Let the fires burn themselves out. We are making future fires worse. Protect structures only, sacrifice some structural pawns for the greater good and health of the forest. I’m staring at the Weston fire smoke as I write this, let it go. Evacuate but let the fires burn don’t risk lives and resources for what mother nature did for hundreds of miles in centuries past. we only make the forests future worse. The forest will return.

    1. What you don’t know about the Weston pass fire is that a 500 lot RV park is in its path. If it was more in the national forest, they could let some of it burn. Each of those lots contains at least one rv and is a summer home to many snow birds who no longer have homes but travel between Colorado in the summer and other states in the winter. Or a summer vacation spot for many of us who live in town. It was established in 1979. We have been going there for over 30 years, lots of memories made there. So do your homework on what is in the path before you start ranting about letting it burn.

      1. Folks, with the population growth on the front range its almost impossible to have a wildfire that doesn’t involve homes, RV’s, and structures.

        Before you criticize, look in the mirror. What have you personally done to mitigate the problem caused by most of the Colorado front range turning into a WUI? Do you know what a Firewise community is? Have you mitigated your property in accordance with the guidelines provided by the Colorado State Forest Service? Have you helped out your local fire protection district? Did you know that most districts in Colorado depend almost entirely on volunteers? Did you know that our small mostly volunteer fire departments with inadequate budgets and inadequate manning are the ones Colorado critically depends on to keep small fires small and defend your property?

        Have you had any interaction with your County Commissioners about planning and zoning, construction and building codes, or development in forested areas? Do you think your county is doing enough to properly manage growth, especially in the WUI?

        Did you know the county sheriffs in Colorado have a responsibility to manage firefighting in unincorporated areas of the State? Why should our law enforcement officers be dual hatted and responsible for firefighting?

        Did you know that the Wildfire Matters Review Committee in our State legislature recommended only two laws last session … one to extend the life of the committee and another to increase the penalty for unattended campfires? Is Colorado adequately organized, manned, trained, and equipped to handle the wildfire problems in our State? If not, what have you done to make our legislators aware that changes need to be made?

        Have you made our Federal legislators aware of the problems on our federal lands and the inadequately supported and funded Forest Service and BLM programs?

        If you don’t live in the mountains, did you know that this is where a great deal of your water comes from and that the small fire protection districts up here are the ones providing protection for your watershed? It’s your problem too. Ask the Denver Water Board how much wildfires have cost you in the South Platte river watershed. Or Ft. Collins and Greely about ultimate wildfire costs in the Poudre river watershed.

        Our Colorado wildfire problem isn’t going to get any better until we fix it. It isn’t someone else’s responsibility to manage the problem. Its our job to fix it. Please … Get involved.

  2. my Dads cousin John was in AZ for a month,wrecked his RV (he’s 83yo) when he climbed a curb,knocked an axle loose ,which sent to trailer into traffic and it was then hit by a semi,i wasnt there ,seems odd,but its the message,anyway,he lives in the Chateau heights subdivision,his daughter went to the house,but wasnt allowed in until she begged a cop to let her in to get the cat,he refused but a fire official heard her pleading and took her in his rig to the house,got the cat and brought her back out,the cop then searched her to see if she’d taken anything else besides the cat.i just dont understand law enforcement’s attitudes lately,it wasnt unreasonable for her to go in,after all the BC took her himself,but to have the cop search her after wards in an over reaction to say the least,some days im glad i went the fire service way not law enforcement.

    1. Really? He was protecting her. Sometimes people jump to conclusions without really knowing the whys or whether something was exaggerated or taken out of context. God Bless our firefighters and law enforcement who put themselves in harms way to protect us.

  3. Thank you firefighters. if anyone should receive criticism it should be the influx of careless visitors to our state who do not realize what a fire ban is for.

  4. I own one of the gold mines five miles from the Weston pass fire. We own water trucks, dozers, haul trucks, and excavators and would like to help make fire breaks or help with the clean up after the fire.

  5. OK Folks. I’ve never had to do this before on this web site but I just deleted multiple comments that were rude, crude, mean-spirited, and over the top. This is not the comment section on YouTube. We’re here to talk respectfully about wildland fire. It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable. If you can’t do that, there are plenty of other websites that would welcome you with open arms.

    Our comment policy has been in effect since 2009 and it is still valid.

  6. We have a family home near Buena Vista.
    Our prayers go out to all involved or whose property is threatened. All of us should be very aware of fire dangers—especially the “flat landers” like me who come up to enjoy Colorado in its glory. We should donate to appropriate organizations who need our help.

  7. God BLESS THE FIRE FIGHTERS and law enforcement. I love Colorado and dont want it ruined..by fire or by mean people. Let’s pray for Rain and serve.

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