Spring Creek Fire spreads closer to La Veta, Colorado

The fire is three miles west of the town

Above: The Spring Creek Fire, based on data from 1 p.m. MDT June 30, 2018. (Cropped by Wildfire Today from a map prepared by the Incident Management Team, with a modified legend.)

(Updated at 8 a.m. MDT July 1, 2018)

The Spring Creek Fire grew by about 7,000 acres Saturday to bring the size up to 41,292 acres. We don’t have a product from an overnight mapping flight due to clouds that obscured most of the fire, trapping the heat signatures that would normally be detected by sensors on the aircraft.

Mandatory evacuations were ordered on June 30 for the area north and east of Trinchera Ranch Road, and south of Highway 160 in the Fort Garland area. There is an evacuation shelter at the Blanca Fort Garland Community Center.

CLICK HERE to see all of the articles on Wildfire Today about the Spring Creek Fire.

The map produced by the Incident Management Team (IMT) for Sunday indicates that none of the perimeter has any held or contained fireline, and reports issued also show zero percent containment. If accurate, this is unusual for a fire that has been burning for five days and has 480 personnel assigned, including 10 hand crews, 32 engines, and 7 helicopters. But as we have often stated, containment numbers issued by some IMTs are notoriously unreliable.

As the fire expands over a larger area, the command and control becomes more difficult. To mitigate this, a second IMT has been mobilized.

The current IMT, with Incident Commander Shane Greer, explained how this will work:

This increased staffing and additional management will allow fire managers to continue implementing strategies and tactics that prioritize firefighter and public safety while working to protect values at risk. Tomorrow, the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Blue will arrive and begin coordinating with Team Black management to ensure a successful transfer of information. It is expected that, on Monday, the fire will be split into two separate management areas. The current Team Black will remain in command of all fire areas south of Highway 160. The incoming Team Blue will take command of all fire areas north of Highway 160. The two teams will work in very close coordination to ensure the public continues receiving accurate and consistent information.

A public meeting is scheduled for Sunday, July 1 at 6:00 p.m. Fire officials will provide updates about the ongoing suppression efforts and respond to questions from the audience. The meeting will be at the La Veta High School Gymnasium (109 E. Garland Street, La Veta, Colorado). Space is limited. The meeting will also be streamed on Facebook live.(www.facebook.com/springfire2018).

Spring Creek Fire
Spring Creek Fire, uploaded by the Incident Management Team June 29.


(UPDATED at 6:28 p.m. MDT June 30, 2018)

Here is a map showing heat detected on the Spring Creek Fire at 1:01 p.m. MDT June 30, 2018.

map spring creek fire
Map showing heat detected on the Spring Creek Fire at 1:01 p.m. MDT June 30, 2018.

CDOT reports that the closure of US 160 between Fort Garland and La Veta and the closure of CO 12 between Cuchara and La Veta, will continue. The fire is now pretty well established on the north sides of Highway 160 and Mt. Maestas. There has been growth there, as well as on the southeast side in the last 18 hours. The west side close to Hwy. 160 is remaining pretty stable.

3-D map Spring Creek Fire
3-D map of the Spring Creek Fire looking west, from data collected at 9:58 p.m. MDT June 29, 2018. The actual maximum perimeter is not shown in all places, however the extent of the fire should be current on the north, east, and southeast sides. All areas with active fire are shown.


(Originally published at 6:41 a.m. MDT June 30, 2018)

The Spring Creek Fire 51 miles southwest of Pueblo, Colorado has grown closer to the small town of La Veta, population 800. A mapping flight at 9:58 p.m. Friday showed that it was three miles west of the community. On the other side of the fire it was eight miles southwest of Fort Garland.

It has crossed Highway 160, which is closed at La Veta Pass, and is working its way up Mt. Maestas. Near the top of the 11,000-foot ridge on the mountain there is much less fuel, which slows the fire. Firefighters are no doubt hoping to extinguish any spot fires that may cross the ridge and they will want to keep the fire from burning around the forested lower-slopes on the east and west sides.

map Spring Creek Fire
Map of the Spring Creek Fire, from data collected at 9:58 p.m. MDT June 29, 2018. The actual maximum perimeter is not shown in all places, however the extent of the fire should be current on the north, east, and southeast sides. All areas with active fire are shown.

Officially, the fire is 33,956 acres, but that is based on information from Friday afternoon at 2:40 as determined by Colorado’s MultiMission Aircraft. Overnight mapping by a U.S. Forest Service aircraft puts it closer to 38,000 acres. Most of the fire is on private land, with smaller portions on BLM, State, and U.S. Forest Service areas.

The correct name of the fire is “Spring Creek”, but more often it is referred to as the “Spring Fire”.

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+

24 thoughts on “Spring Creek Fire spreads closer to La Veta, Colorado”

  1. Thanks Bill, I gave a cabin on sledger road in the SDCR not getting info on the west side of the fire, you know anything?

  2. Thanks for your great work.
    Would you be interested in being interviewed about your experiences by the podcast The Explorist for a future episode on forest fires?

  3. Thanks for helping keep those of us in the affected area up to date. It is hard not to be scared when the fire is so visible and the smoke is everywhere, but information really helps.
    Everyone is working so hard to save lives, property and sanity. I can’t say enough. My prayers and gratitude continue.

  4. Have been searching, this was the most informative site!
    Is there anyway to find out if my facility burned?
    I downloaded the jpg and expanded it. Your thermal shows it as bright red.
    its coordinates are Lat 37.562516 Long -105.140379

    It is just north of highway 160 where the “S” of Spring Creek is on your display.
    The highway is closed 6 miles away and None Shall Pass is in effect.

    1. The latest two days show it as bright red, as the fire moved up Mt Maestas.

      They couldn’t hold the highway as a break-line.

  5. I had to leave my RV and camp host job at La Veta. I am sick. Does anyone know anything about Up Top? Thank you for information. Just heartbroken.


  6. Tom, I live across Ojito creek from Slegers Road, off Bateman. The fire is well north and east of us at this point, with winds out of the south and SSW between 10 and 15 mph at 12:50pm Saturday. We’re hazy, and smelling smoke from somewhere, but unlikely from the Spring fire with the wind blowing away. My wife just went down to the community center to get the most recent updates at the 1:00 meeting. ….mostly concerned with where that smoke we’re smelling is coming from, although we don’t see any plume from the southwest.

  7. Hey thanks no telling where the smoke is from I think it circled south by San Luis . Thanks for the update I knew the fire wasn’t close but I understand they are trying to contain the west end per #SpringFire

  8. Just 5 miles away on the Walsenburg side, the smoke has really increased.
    Like it flared up again.. Would send photos if there was a way.

  9. did this start on what used to be called “Taylor Ranch ?”

    I moved away years ago.
    Did that dispute over “gathering firewood” and “subsistence hunting” ever get settled ?

  10. My family has a cabin in Cuchara, I was just trying to find out how contained the fire is? No site I’ve looked at has given any info over that. Thanks for all your other information this is the most informative I’ve been able to find.

  11. No on both accounts, the fire is well north of the Taylor Ranch., At this point. That could all change depending on weather. The Taylor Ranch has new owners as of the a few months ago. Now they get to fight the battle on Inheritable land use rights. Which they are doing.

  12. I just went on a land buying trip mid week staying in La Veta and going up and down 160 and 12. Absolutely beautiful area. It is a real shame. Thanks for this website.

  13. I have a house just off south abeyta creek south of 160 at mile marker 284 and have not been able to find out any information at all about the structure.

  14. Greetings.
    Is the fire moving north along Pass Creek Pass Road ?
    Have friends at Malachite-are they at risk ?

    1. I also have property off of Pass Creek Pass roughly 2 miles from hwy 160 but before Paradise Acres. Any info would be greatly appreciated

  15. So I have lived in and hunted that country since I was a small child I know it very well it dose not surprise me at all that they are having this much trouble fighting it. It is very rugged and intense terrain under the best circumstances. And the wind there is notorious. Best thought to the folks protecting my home town

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