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Abandoned campfire determined as cause for 440+ acre Colorado wildfire; some evacuations in place in Lake County

Some Colorado evacuation orders in place as wildfire burns 440+ acres in Lake County
Some Colorado evacuation orders in place as wildfire burns 440+ acres in Lake County 00:25

The Interlaken Fire in Colorado's high country has burned 443 acres, and some residents who live near it in Lake County have been asked to evacuate. The fire -- located near Twin Lakes and about 20 miles south of Leadville -- was first reported early on Tuesday afternoon and it sent a large plume of smoke up into the blue sky.

In an update on Wednesday night, it was determined by the U.S. Forest Service Fire investigator an abandoned campfire was the cause of the Interlaken Fire. This campfire was discovered about 60 yards from the Interlaken Trail and 1.5 miles from the trailhead.

Investigators did not have leads for who left the campfire upon determine the cause. Anyone with information about campers with a fire near the Interlaken Resort between June 7 and June 11 can call the tip line at 303-275-5266.  

The site of the abandoned campfire determined to be the cause for the Interlaken Fire in Lake County that was first reported on June 11, 2024.  U.S. Forest Service

Weather conditions are not ideal for firefighters in the region. A dry and hot pattern is locked in through Thursday with above normal temperatures and breezy afternoons and evenings. Highs in the area will top out in the upper 70s by Thursday. There is some relief expected by Friday with a cold front that initially, will create wind Thursday night into Friday. Not good to start, but, by Friday there should be a good chance for scattered afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms across the Twin Lakes and Lake County areas. Chances for Friday afternoon are up around 50% with 20% on Friday night.


Some pre-evacuation orders that were put in place after the fire started have been lifted, but other evacuation orders remain in effect. The areas of Balltown are no longer on pre-evacuation notice on Wednesday morning. Lost Canyon is under pre-evacuation orders. 

People in the area of Interlaken and County Road 25 are under evacuation orders.

The CBS News Colorado helicopter flew over the fire burning in Lake County on Wednesday.  CBS

There is no camping on the east side of Twin Lakes or around Interlaken trailhead. Willis Gulch trailhead is closed. 

An evacuation center was set up at the 6th Street Gym in Leadville. It was closed overnight, but it might reopen if it is needed.

Denver Fire's Wildland Team is preparing to deploy to the fire where they will work alongside other wildland teams. 

The fire is being managed by a Type 3 Indicent Management Team with 135 personnel assigned to the fire. Aircraft resources include two Type 1 helicopters, one Type 2 helicopter, and one T3 helicopter as well as fixed wing air tanker support. 

The Interlaken Fire is burning in timber and heavy dead and down fuels. What caused the fire is being investigated. 

"The Forest Service uses all available strategies and tools to manage wildfires. Firefighter and public safety is our first priority," said Forest Service Leadville District Ranger Patrick Mercer in a statement.

According to the Forest Service, aviation resources continue to drop buckets of water and fire retardant on the fire to help in minimizing fire spread.  Firefighters are also working to protect a number of values at risk including private property, historic structures at Interlaken, Canada lynx habitat, and utility infrastructure.

Residents react after evacuation orders in place due to wildfire in Lake County 00:43
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