Two grass fires in northern Las Animas County are burning near Kim.


The first is the Cherry Canyon fire, which is 10 miles northwest of Kim. As of Saturday evening, a total of 11,087 acres had been burned. It was 30 % contained.


By Sunday the fire was 50 % contained thanks to cooler temperatures and light rain, according to the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control.


The cause of the Cherry Canyon fire was lightning. It started on May 19.


The Cherry Canyon fire continues to burn in remote locations with steep canyons and cliffs in the region. Saturday brought low to moderate activity with steady winds. A late afternoon wind gust caused the fire to move east toward County Road 195.8. Two single engine air tankers and a large air tanker were utilized to contain this spot. As of 5 p.m. Saturday, the fire had not crossed CR 195.8. Firefighters will continue to work in this area for the next few days.


The southern portion of the fire is only burning internally and has not advanced since Wednesday.


Winds, high temperature and relative humidity remained a concern through the weekend, with weather predictions looking at moderate, possible variable weather and fire behavior into Monday.


Moving forward, ground resources will seek opportunities to engage the fire safely and contain it, keeping the fire north of Highway 160, east of County Road 179 and west of State Highway 109.


A second blaze started on Saturday, which is the 466 fire. It is 15 miles northeast of the Cherry Canyon fire. As of Saturday evening, 120 acres had been burned with zero percent containment. By Sunday evening the fire had come under 50% containment.


The cause was unknown.


No structures nor livestock have been threatened by these fires.


Aircraft and firefighters from the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) continue to assist the Kim Volunteer fire department. Firefighters are optimistic the fire will not grow any further, and mop up began Sunday.


The Kim Volunteer Fire Department, the Las Animas County Sheriff, the Las Animas County Road and Bridge Department, Las Animas County Emergency Management, and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control have provided essential resources including three DFPC modules, three DFPC engines, helitack, multi mission aircraft support and single engine air tankers.


Safety is the number one priority and as such, strategies moving forward include maintaining firefighter and public safety by utilizing sound risk management actions and utilizing suppression activities that guide the fire into natural barriers. Additionally, minimizing the potential impacts of COVID-19 through the practice of social distancing, proper personal hygiene, and regular cleaning.


As a reminder, Stage 1 Fire restrictions are in effect in Las Animas County. This is due not only for the potential of high winds, but the moisture content of potential fuels at lower elevations as well as the limited resources available to combat a large-scale fire due to the COVID-19 restrictions.