June 12, 2011: Day 1
Named the Track Fire because it began near the BNSF railroad tracks on the north side of town, it was reportedly started by illegal ATVs trespassing on the railroad’s property. Smoke visible to the north was the first hint that something was happening.
Law enforcement was quick to close the highways leading into the smoke.
The fire began on the BNSF railroad right-of-way on the west side of I-25.
Some residents began taking defensive action.
As the smoke grew worse and the fire started to grow, residents were anxious for news and updates.
Smoke conditions made travel on the interstate unsafe. The fire soon crossed the to the east side of the interstate.
After months of dry conditions, the fire raced from the bottom of the mesa to the top within minutes.
Evacuations on the north side of town began very soon afterward.
Neighbors throughout town watched as the fire quickly spread.
The Track Fire became the focus of everything in town.
The arrival of dusk was no relief to the owners and residents of evacuated neighborhoods.
The fire did slow for the night, and as the smoke cleared the extent of the damage was apparent.
Continue for more photos of the Track Fire: