Elbert County

Brush fire destroys nine structures near Kiowa

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A brush fire fueled by strong winds and dry conditions destroyed four homes and five outbuildings in the rural area south of Kiowa on March 4, according to the Elbert County Sheriff's Office. No injuries were reported.

Fire crews from more than a dozen agencies spent at least six hours working to gain containment of the 375-acre Forest Ridge Fire, which started at about 10:15 a.m. south of County Road 118 and east of County Road 45. Full containment was announced the evening of March 4.

“Homeowners were able to get family members, livestock and pets to safety, and the Elbert County Fairgrounds set up a shelter, hosted by the Red Cross and the Dumb Friends League,” the sheriff's office posted on Facebook.

With wind gusts of up to 45 mph, conditions were not safe for air support to help combat the blaze, according to the sheriff's office. The fire spread to the east, including to County Road 49, and south to County Road 110.

An investigation is underway as to the cause of the fire, but it “appears to be accidental in nature,” the sheriff's office said.

“Despite this tragedy, the Elbert County Sheriff's Office would like to thank the community for their support and willingness to jump in and help in this situation,” the Facebook post said. “Numerous pickup trucks and livestock trailers show up and staged along County Road 45, ready to assist in the relocation of animals from the properties. Other community members dropped off food and cases of water and sports drinks for the first responders working the incident.

“Events like this, while tragic in nature, show how the community can come together and support each other in a time of need.”

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