High Park Fire Colorado now burning for a week – Intoxicated man swimming among the flames

By Amanda Shore

The High Park fire, which started last Friday, June 8, has now been burning for a week. At first, high winds and dry conditions made the fire hard to fight, and it only spread. By Tuesday, firefighters had it more or less under control and were making good progress on lessening the blaze.

Adding to their troubles, an emergency call came in this morning alerting officials to a drunk man that had struck his girlfriend in the area near Carter Lake. The intoxicated man and his partner had been camping in the area. They had gotten into an argument, and this resulted in the violence. The man ran from the campsite and started swimming away in the lake when the rescuers arrived at the scene. He refused to come to shore when asked and ordered and continued to swim further away, getting as far as 600 feet from shore. Less than 30 rescuers had to pause fighting the fire to deal with the man and get him to safety. Rescuers were able to get the man from the middle of the lake. He was hanging on to a buoy to stay afloat when the rescuers pulled him into a boat, arrested him and took him to a hospital. The man could face several charges, including assault and eluding and resisting officers.

Officials are still calling for evacuations to keep residents safe, but some neighborhoods have been opened so that families can return to their homes. The wildfire now covers more than 52,000 acres and is at 15 percent containment. 48 buildings have been destroyed, and there are likely more.

The Sheriff’s Office has sett up a phone line that residents can call to check the status of their home. This line will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Saturday, June 16. This number is (303) 619-4086.

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