UPDATES: I-70 reopens following Duck Pond Fire evacuation order in Gypsum
UPDATE (7:37 p.m.): I-70 has reopened in both directions
Neighborhoods in western Eagle County were evacuated Saturday due to a wildfire burning near the town of Gypsum.
The fire, on the south side of the Eagle River, required a crew from the Gypsum Fire Protection District to hike into the scene, about halfway between the Bureau of Land Management campground just west of Gypsum and the River Dance RV park.
A crew from the Greater Eagle Fire Protection District was on standby on the north side of the river, and air support was also on standby.
The fire started at less than 1 acre in size as of about 3 p.m., but quickly spread.
Sara Fisher, who lives in Eagle River Estates on Porphyry Road, said she smelled smoke at about 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
“I went out to check and see where it was coming from, thinking it might be a controlled burn, but then I looked to the west and got my binoculars out and realized that it was more powerful than I imagined so I called dispatch immediately and Vail dispatch informed me that they knew about it, and they had firefighters on the way,” Fisher said.
Fisher said she had not yet received any notifications about the fire from Eagle County alerts at the time, but shortly thereafter, she was informed via text alerts that I-70 was closed.
At about 4 p.m., Fisher said she received the warning that a pre-evacuation notice had been issued for her neighborhood.
“That lasted about 20 to 30 minutes, and then we got the evacuation order, she said.
The evacuation order was issued for all locations south of Highway 6 from mile marker 140 to the Dotsero interchange including Riverdance RV park and Stoneyard Distillery.
Leaving her neighborhood, “the cars were backed up,” Fisher said. “The big trouble there at that point was the traffic was being stopped on I-70 as well, so people were coming off I-70, so it made it a bit more of a cluster, but I got out, and my husband got out, and all my neighbors that I’ve checked in with so far are safe, so I think people have gotten out.”
Fisher fled Porphyry Road to the Eagle River Center at the Eagle County Fairgrounds where a temporary shelter was set up for evacuees.
Justin Patrick, Strategic Communications Director at Eagle County Government, said the fire had grown to be about 25-30 acres during the 5 o’clock hour after high winds spread flames through the area.
I-70 reopened at about 7:30 p.m.
For highway information, go to cotrip.org.
To sign up for emergency alerts, go to ecemergency.org.
—Sean Naylor contributed reporting
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