Many people evacuated because of a wildfire burning in central Colorado are back home.
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office lifted evacuation orders on Sunday for several neighborhoods near the fire that has burned 6,326 acres of national forest.
The Chaffee County Sheriff says a little more than half of the evacuees were sent back home.
Crews say they feel confident with their hand lines and preparations to keep the fire at bay in the neighborhoods where people are returning home.
However, 73 homes and around 180 people are still evacuated.
The fire has destroyed a cabin and another structure as its northern edge reached 2 miles south of Salida.
Unseasonably warm and dry conditions have fueled the fire, caused by lightning in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness Area on Sept. 8. It had been allowed to burn beetle-killed trees until high winds spread flames northward.
Officials also are monitoring a 1.5-square-mile wildfire on forest land 10 miles south of Rifle. 882 personnel are currently actively working on the Decker Fire.
Monday, large smoke clouds could be seen off of the south side of Methodist Mountain. The Rocky Mountain Type 1 crew’s meteorologist says the weather around the fire on Monday was dry, had above average temperatures, and the humidity was down. Crews were expecting an increase in fire activity.
Firefighters are hoping for some moisture later this week, possibly even by Thursday.