BEULAH, Colo. — The Latest on the Beulah Hill Wildfire in southern Colorado (all times local):
All evacuation orders for the wildfire that destroyed eight homes in southern Colorado have been lifted.
Residents of 375 homes were returning home Friday, the last and biggest wave of evacuees to be allowed back in and around the town of Beulah, southwest of Pueblo.
Authorities ordered nearly 2,000 residents to leave their homes Monday after a fire broke out and quickly spread in windy, dry conditions. Investigators believe it was somehow sparked by a Colorado Department of Transportation excavator doing maintenance work in a ditch.
The 8 square mile fire is 75 percent contained.
Water service and power have been restored. Firefighters have been using the town’s school as a command post but say they’ll be out in time for classes to resume on Monday.
The rest of the people evacuated by a wildfire that destroyed eight homes in southern Colorado are being allowed back home.
Because of progress made fighting the Beulah Hill Fire, the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office says that they can return starting at 1 p.m. Friday.
Authorities believe a Colorado Department of Transportation excavator doing routine maintenance somehow started the fire on Monday. It quickly spread in strong winds, leading to the evacuation of hundreds of people in the town of Beulah and the surrounding valley.
Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor says the operator was moving a stone when he noticed a fire had ignited.
Under an executive order from Gov. John Hickenlooper, people who lost their homes will get grants of up to $5,000 from the state’s disaster emergency fund.