A new fire, the Adobe Peak Fire, was discovered early Monday after reported lightning strikes in the area on Sunday, Chris Naccarato, U.S. Forest Service fire management officer covering the Upper Arkansas Valley, said.

The new fire, 5 miles west of Wetmore, is approximately 25 acres and growing.

Naccarato said some fire personnel from Cañon City and Florence are already on site.

If that fire grows any larger, it will join the other nine active wildfires in the state. Two current fires, the 419 Fire and the Spring Creek Fire, are among the top 10 largest fires ever in Colorado, Naccarato said.

“The fires are growing at a rate we haven’t seen in hundreds of years,” Naccarato said. “The burning index, which measures potential for fire, is at an all-time high. We are drier out there than 2002 and 2012 at this point in time.”

Naccarato said they use the burning index to estimate how high flames could climb, and currently the estimate is at about 9 feet.

“Anything over 4 feet in height can’t be dealt with by a crew. It would require mechanical assistance, such as a fire truck, bulldozer, helicopter or plane,” Naccarato said.

The three fires closest to Salida, not including the new Adobe Peak Fire, are the Weston Pass Fire, the Chateau Fire and the Spring Creek Fire.

As of Monday afternoon, the Weston Pass Fire in Park County had burned about 6,500 acres, with 313 firefighters on site.

The fire is currently moving southeast, but Naccarato said the winds could change.

There is currently no containment, and while there have been no reports of major structure damage, homes in the area have been evacuated.

The fire has shut down U.S. 285 between Antero Junction and Fairplay, and traffic has been rerouted through Hartsel.

The Chateau Fire is in Teller County and as of Monday morning had burned about 1,300 acres.

Naccarato said the fire, which is threatening some structures, is mostly on state and private land and is being handled by local and county fire departments.

There has been no containment, and 82 firefighters are on site, with 43 fire engines and four helicopters.

The Spring Creek Fire near La Veta, as of Monday afternoon, had burned more than 50,000 acres and was about 5 percent contained.

About 550 firefighters are on site, with 35 fire engines and nine helicopters.

Jasper Joergenson of Denmark turned himself in for causing the fire, the Denver Post reported. He originally said he was burning trash but later changed his story to cooking on a campfire.

Naccarato said the local U.S. Forest Service has sent three people to assist with the fires, mostly in support roles, such as drivers.

He said the Forest Service has actually brought in more personnel to the area, including a pair of fire trucks, one from Montana and one from Tennessee.

“We have people out on patrol, writing tickets for fireworks and campfires,” Naccarato said. “We’ve written about half a dozen tickets a day between here and Leadville.”

Naccarato suggests if people need to go into the forests, they should be careful where they park, as a hot vehicle can cause dry grass to burn.

“Be very careful if you have to cook in the forest as well,” Naccarato said. “And if a fire starts, with the rapid escalation we are experiencing, be aware that you may not be able to get out the way you came in.”

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