Evacuation orders downgraded as Morrisania Fire near Parachute holds at 100 acres in size

The Morrisania Mesa fire began Saturday afternoon following a lightning strike. It grew rapidly to 200 acres because of high winds, but responders are optimistic the fire will be under control by Sunday afternoon. Courtesy of Raquel Pressler

Residents were allowed to return to their homes on Morrisania Mesa on Sunday afternoon, but the area remains under a pre-evacuation notice in case the nearby fire unexpectedly grows in size or intensity.

“By 4 p.m. today, it was reported that the area residents have been down-graded to a ‘pre-evacuation’ status meaning residents could be at home but should be prepared to evacuate on short notice should  conditions change,” A news release from the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office states. “The fire is currently at approximately 100 acres and holding. There is 0% containment at this time with 102 firefighters on scene between ground and aircrews.”

Originally estimated at 200 acres, more time and improved mapping shows the Morrisania Mesa fire near Parachute at 100 acres on Sunday afternoon as crews continued to work to get the blaze under control.

The Morrisania Mesa fire began following lightning strikes during Saturday’s storms, according to a Facebook Post by the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. Command is currently being managed by Grand Valley fire and the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, although many other agencies are assisting in firefighting and support efforts.

According to the National Weather Service, breezy conditions were expected through midweek, but should be less than Sunday. The early part of this week will also feature the potential for more rain and thunderstorms.

As winds increased dramatically Saturday, fire crews working to protect one home and an outbuilding near one of the lightning strikes were forced to evacuate for their own safety, Grand Valley Fire Protection District Public Information Officer Chris Jackson said. Those two structures were tragically lost to the fire.

“They were in the line of fire and had to leave for safety,” he said.

Two other structures were saved however as fire crews were able to secure ground lines before the fire approached, Jackson added.

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