Shortly before noon on Wednesday May 20, Fisher’s Peak Fire Protection District (FPFPD) responded to a residential fire in the 12900 block of Picketwire Road off of County Road 57.7 just past Cokedale in the Bon Carbo fire district. When firefighters arrived, residents were not at home.
According to Las Animas County Emergency Manager Kim Chavez, the fire started out in a residence on the Picketwire Ranch and evolved into a wildland fire. The house was burned down completely according to scanner reports. In total, nearly eight acres were also burned in the fire.
Nearly 50 people were involved in containing the fire including members from the Fishers Peak, Bon Carbo, Hoehne, Cokedale, Spanish Peak, Pinion Canyon, and Trinidad Fire Departments, along with Las Animas County Road and Bridge crews present to provide assistance. Private individuals also quickly jumped in to offer more resources.
“The Blasis were there with their heavy tire loader and their dozer,” said FPFPD Chief Buddie Curro, referring to Blasi & Son Trucking & Earthmoving. “If it hadn’t have been for all the personnel that we got immediately on this we probably wouldn’t have been able to contain it like we did.”
M&M Towing and Repair also chipped in and furnished pizza, Gatorade, and water for the responding crews.
Curro said the fire had been rendered completely under control by 7 p.m. when he terminated his command and personnel along with a 3000-gallon sprayer monitored the hot spots remaining over Wednesday night and continued to monitor the scene throughout the day Thursday to avoid any reigniting.
Though no evacuations were necessary, according to Curro, had they not had the support of other agencies nearby houses could’ve been lost.
“The acreage doesn’t sound like much but there were several homes in the vicinity,” said Curro. “If we hadn’t have been able to get a line cut around with that frontend loader, we might have lost more.”
The fire was an intense situation for a period of time, Curro said.
“There was ammunition in the house that was firing off and a smaller propane tank for a camper had bleved,” said Curro. “The larger 500-gallon tank did not bleve but the relief valve released and it was hissing and maybe a foot long flame coming out of that.”
Bleve is an acronym for “boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion,” which is used by firefighters and other emergency responders.
The Las Animas County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the cause of the fire. It is suspected the fire was human-caused and not naturally ignited.