Wildfire Threatens Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

June 13, 2013 by   - () Comments Off on Wildfire Threatens Royal Gorge Bridge & Park

Royal Gorge Bridge

Wildfires in Colorado are taking their toll.

Sheriff’s officials released a preliminary list Wednesday showing the Black Forest Fire northeast of Colorado Springs has destroyed at least 92 homes and damaged five more. The fire was among several that surged rapidly Tuesday along Colorado’s Front Range, The Associated Press reported

 A 4 1/2-square-mile wildfire that evacuated Royal Gorge Bridge & Park has destroyed 20 structures, including some in the park, the Denver Post reported.

The Royal Gorge suspension bridge spanning a canyon across the Arkansas River has fire damage to 32 of its 1,292 wooden planks, city officials said. An aerial tram car and tram buildings on either side of the gorge were destroyed, and the tram cable fell into the gorge. An incline railway descending 1,500 feet to the canyon floor was damaged.

Colorado’s historic Royal Gorge Bridge is intact, but its structural integrity needs to be evaluated, said fire information officer Mike Smith.

The fire, which began Tuesday on the south side of the Royal Gorge, was about 20% contained by Wednesday night.

Smith has received unverified reports that wooden plankings of the mostly steel bridge have been scorched, he said.

“Even if it didn’t char the planking, the heat from adjacent burning buildings may have affected the cables,” Smith said.

The fire began Tuesday afternoon on the south side of the Royal Gorge.

Another fire sparked by lightning Monday in Rocky Mountain National Park has grown to an estimated 600 acres in area with trees killed by pine beetles.







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