Bent’s Fort Fire Update April 13, 2022

Description: (Photo Credit: Park Superintendent Stuart West)

Published: 04/13/2022
Byline: Hart

Acres: 1,788 acres 

Containment: 25% 

  Bent’s Fort Fire Update April 13, 2022 

La Junta, CO – Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is temporarily closed for public safety due to a wildfire that started on the morning of April 12, 2022.  

The Bent’s Fort Fire initially started on the south side of Highway 194 burning 0.54 acres next to the highway and extending into the eastern section of the park. High winds later reignited the fire, which burned areas along the Arkansas River and eventually spread to private property and the Oxbow State Wildlife Area. A wind shift occurred at approximately 8:00 p.m. last night which led to the fire burning back towards the west and putting the fort at risk. Thanks to the efforts of fire crews, the reconstructed adobe fort remains undamaged. Crews were also able to save the fort’s wagons and cannon which were located outside the walls of the fort. There have been no injuries to park staff and all of the animals of the fort (horse, mules, ox, goats, chickens, peacocks, and cats) are unharmed.  

Fire crews have responded from La Junta, Rocky Ford, Cheraw, Otero County Road and Bridge, South Metro Fire Rescue, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Castle Rock, and Montrose, Colorado.  

Park staff estimate that 85% of the park’s 800 acres has burned from the Bents Fort Fire. A significant number of the park’s cottonwoods have burn damage. Park staff will work with the incident management team to assess the burned areas of the park prior to reopening. The assessment process will include evaluating the area for hazard trees near park trails that need to be felled for visitor safety, among other considerations. There is no estimate for when the park will reopen at this time. 

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on the park website and on social media channels (

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