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Wind-driven brush fire forces evacuation of Fort Lyon in southeastern Colorado

A large brush fire is burning east of Las Animas in Bent County.
Credit: Bent County Sheriff's Office

BENT COUNTY, Colo. — The community of Fort Lyon, near Las Animas in southeastern Colorado, was evacuated due to a large wind-driven brush fire.

The fire was reported Friday afternoon. The evacuation order has since been lifted.

The Bent County Sheriff's Office said the fire is between 3,000 and 4,000 acres and is 80% contained.

KBLJ radio was reporting the fire was burning east of County Road 16 and near Highway 50. That's about seven miles east of Las Animas and a little northwest of John Martin Reservoir State Park. 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) said people at John Martin Reservoir were evacuated. CPW said there were 10 fire departments battling the fire.

KBLJ said firefighters were able to keep the fire from the national cemetery in Fort Lyon. 

The cause of the fire has not yet been released.

The National Weather Service (NWS) in Pueblo issued a Red Flag Warning for most of southeastern Colorado until 5 p.m. Friday. 

At around noon, the NWS issued a rare dust storm warning for most of southeastern Colorado. The dust storm warning expired at 3 p.m.

Strong winds were blowing in from the north most of the day Friday. As of 4 p.m., winds were sustained at 18 mph and gusting up to 31 mph with the humidity level at 11% at the airport in Lamar, which is the closest NWS monitoring site near Las Animas. 

Bent County is in southeast Colorado. It is about 80 miles from the New Mexico border and 38 miles from the Kansas border.

The county's population was 6,499 as of the 2010 census. 

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