FORT CARSON, Colo. – A Colorado wildfire that ignited on a U.S. Army post where a training exercise was being conducted had destroyed some homes in a nearby community but was mostly under control, allowing many residents who fled the flames to return home Saturday, authorities said.
Three homes had burned as well as multiple vehicles, motorhomes and boats, El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder said at a news conference. The blaze that spread from Fort Carson to the rural Midway Ranch community outside Colorado Springs was almost entirely contained Saturday, and no injuries were reported.
A few places were still evacuated, and a Red Cross shelter would stay open, Fort Carson spokeswoman Brandy Gill said. The cause of blaze that sparked Friday during dry, windy weather and grew to more than 5 square miles (13 square kilometers) was under investigation, she said.
Some residents complained that Fort Carson should have taken more precautions or delayed the training activity this week because of high fire danger. Samuel Saling told The Gazette of Colorado Springs that he and some neighbors got no response when they asked the post to postpone the exercise.
"The Army is supposed to protect the American public, but it for sure doesn't feel like we're being protected," Saling said.
Army Col. Ron Fitch said infantry and helicopter units were training for an upcoming deployment when the fire broke out at Fort Carson. He said Friday that the training had to go on despite the fire-prone conditions.
"We have to train in order to prepare those soldiers," he told reporters.
Fort Carson's Public Affairs Office didn't return a message from the newspaper seeking comment Saturday.