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Colorado Fire Briefs

Scenic railroad back on track after wildfire

CAÑON CITY – After nearly four days of being parked – and almost a week of running partial routes because of a nearby wildfire – the Royal Gorge Route Railroad is back on track.

The Cañon City Daily Record reports the scenic railroad began running its full route for the first time Friday since the Royal Gorge Fire was sparked June 11. The full 22-mile round-trip route runs from Cañon City to Parkdale through Colorado’s iconic Royal Gorge.

A 10-mile stretch of the Arkansas River was closed for more than a week because aerial tramway cables over the gorge had fallen into the water. Whitewater rafting also has resumed in the canyon.

The Royal Gorge Bridge and Park is closed until fall because of substantial fire damage.

Guard helps with security, choppers

CENTENNIAL – More than 100 Colorado National Guard soldiers and pilots are helping with security and firefighting efforts at three wildfires in the state.

In a statement, the guard Saturday said a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter and a CH-47 Chinook helicopter are dropping water at the East Peak Fire southwest of Walsenburg. The guard also said it has a rescue medical helicopter on standby at the Lime Gulch Fire in the foothills west of Denver.

In addition, the guard is providing off-road firefighting trucks and water tenders at the West Fork Complex Fire near South Fork and 85 soldiers to provide security in Huerfano County.

More than 120 guard soldiers providing security at the Black Forest Fire north of Colorado Springs were released Saturday morning.

300 homes evacuated near Walsenburg

WALSENBURG – Residents from 300 homes remain evacuated because of the fire burning 10 miles south of Walsenburg.

The city of Walsenburg and the town of Aguilar also remain on pre-evacuation notice because of the East Peak Fire that has grown to 18 square miles.

Fire management team spokeswoman Susan Valente said Saturday the fire is in forest that has trees killed by beetles and is littered with dead tree branches.

Fire officials with the Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center said the dry weather isn’t expected to let up until Tuesday.

Associated Press

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