COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Colorado Springs Fire Department announced at 5 p.m. Friday the Bear Creek Fire that began burning Thursday in the southwest side of town is now 100% contained.
By the time the fire was fully contained it reached 26 acres. Around noon Friday, Fire Chief Ted Collas told KRDO the fire was at 23 acres.
All roads are now open in that area. There are still about 50 firefighters working on extinguishing hot spots, Collas said.
It was a sigh of relief for residents like Rob McDonald and his wife, who evacuated Thursday and have since been allowed to return home.
"We’re right here, up against the national forest and we always felt it was just a matter of time and yesterday I thought it was…we were lucky," McDonald said.
He said he and his wife are used to the fire dangers associated with the area, having lived in their home on Electra Drive since 1991.
"What we first thought was a house. I mean there was so much smoke. It was just billowing up over the house right over here."
Shortly after, McDonald and his wife evacuated to a nearby friend's house.
"We left and we weren’t sure we were ever going to see this house again, because that’s how intense it was. It blew up so quickly."
It was a similar situation for Alex Chandler and her mother who live just up the street.
"My mom threw my dogs in my car and I just left," Chandler said.
She like many others living in the fire's path, took only what they could grab and headed to evacuation zones.
"All I had was my computer for school, but I didn’t have books or anything."
Fire Chief Ted Collas said a combination of the lack of wind late in the day Thursday and fire mitigation on behalf of the team that works alongside the city fire department and residents living in the affected area were crucial.
"I remember listening to the fire early on and hearing firefighters remark about which houses had been mitigated and which ones hadn’t been mitigated and that plays a role for us," Collas said.
Without these factors, Collas said the outcome could have been a lot worse.
"We had a lot of things line up for us yesterday. Some of those don’t happen by accident and they’re not luck."
The Bear Creek Fire started midday Thursday and encroached on homes nearby, but CSFD credited quick action from firefighters and police as well as mitigation by neighbors in helping crews prevent major damage. No homes were reported to be lost.