Local News

Island Acres Campground Reopens

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - About 120 people were evacuated from the campsite that was near a wildfire that spread across 180 acres of land.

Cyndi and Mike Abbott set up camp for the third time Memorial Day weekend.

"Setting up and tearing down, we'd only hope to do that once," said Mike.

The campers who drove in from Denver were already settled in at Island Acres Campground Friday evening when they noticed a plume of smoke in the air.

"We did smell something burning, but it's campground. I'd figured someone has their fire going already," said Cyndi.

But that smell was a field of flames burning wildfire that spread over 170 acres of land.  

"It's scary when you're driving right next to this wall of flame. The sound was tremendous, the heat was incredible."

Cyndi and Mike were told to evacuate the premises, "We kicked it into high gear. Never closed up camp in such a short period of time before."  

They managed to set up a camp site near Island Acres Campground hoping to come back Sunday morning to finish out Memorial Day weekend.

"[We] spent [Saturday] at the Grand Mesa, exploring a little bit up there and this opened up again [Sunday]."

Luckily for them, the fire that caused the park to be closed for almost two days reopened Sunday morning.

"All of our campgrounds are in tact and we had no structural damage to the park," said Zach Schwasman, Park Ranger for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

Fire officials will continue to monitor the site until they get the all clear.

"They did all the hassle-tree removal [Saturday], and [Sunday], before they give it the all clear, they're going over some hotspots that they observed and soaking it down with water."

It's so campers like Cyndi and Mike can enjoy the rest of what the weekend has to offer.

"You take the good with the bad and it's been a lot of fun. We had an adventure we didn't expect," said Mike.

The park does plan to fully reopen Monday with the swimming hole as well.

For those who did reserve a spot for the weekend and did not come back, a refund will be issued.


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