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CSFD continues to battle East Canyon fire; flames still only 17% contained

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MONTEZUMA COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Colorado Springs Fire Department sent crews to help battle a fire that's already burned nearly 2,800 acres west of Durango.

Though fire crews have made progress, they still have a long way to go.

Captain Mike Smaldino with CSFD says though the fire is 17% contained, it doesn't mean it will stay that way. All it takes is a shift of wind or dry conditions to push back their containment lines.

On top of mitigating the spread of the fire, they've also had to navigate fighting one of this magnitude under new social distancing guidelines.

Smaldino says this is the first large fire they've fought since the outbreak of COVID-19.

"They're not encouraging people to stay there, they're encouraging them to social distance, which is tough when they have hundreds of firefighters together," Smaldino said. "They have virtual check-ins in the morning, which is like, 'Hey, we're good to go.' It's different than being face to face."

But with wildfire season just beginning, Smaldino says they'll have to get used to this new normal, and hope that a fire doesn't spark closer to home.

"We're ready here, unfortunately," says Smaldino. "We had five days straight of red flag warnings, high temps and low humidity, and we have thousands of homes in areas we consider dangerous."

Smaldino says if you see smoke - especially during clear weather conditions - call 911 immediately.

State & Regional News / Wildfires

Mia Villanueva

Mia is a weekday reporter for Good Morning Colorado. Learn more about Mia here.

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