MONTE VISTA, Colo. — A wildfire burned about 17 acres and damaged or destroyed about 15 structures in the southern Colorado city of Monte Vista Wednesday afternoon, the Monte Vista Police Department said.
The fire was first reported around 12:15 p.m. Wednesday on the north side of the city. Police Chief George Dingfelder said some buildings caught on fire almost immediately.
Police said about 15 structures were lost or damaged in the fire. This number includes both homes and outbuildings. A final report documenting the structures lost will not be available for several weeks, police said.
Six families who were displaced by the fire are being offered assistance through the Rio Grande County Department of Social Services and the San Luis Valley Victim Response Unit.
The evacuation area was reopened and residents were allowed to return home at 3 p.m. Thursday.
MVPD is investigating the cause and origin of the fire with assistance from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control. While it is very early in the investigation, MVPD said there is no indication or reason to believe the fire was intentionally set.
The investigation could take several weeks.
The City of Monte Vista and Rio Grande County are working together to declare this a disaster area, which will bring state and federal funding to assist those affected by the fire.
A Red Flag warning was issued for eastern Rio Grande County on Wednesday, which included Monte Vista.
The weather station just north of Monte Vista reported wind gusts between 20 mph and 35 mph starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday coming from the southwest, with relative humidity getting as low as 12%. A high temperature of 66 degrees was reported around 2 p.m.
> Photos below courtesy Alamosa Valley Courier. See more of their coverage here.
PHOTOS: Monte Vista fire forces mandatory evacuation
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