Aircraft battling Iron Fire grounded by weather as containment grows to 50%

Ashley Dishman
Craig Press
The Iron Fire has burned an estimated 7,361 acres about 17 miles northwest of Craig.
Moffat County Sheriff’s Office/Courtesy Photo

According to the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, aircraft from Colorado’s Division of Fire Prevention and Control remained grounded Monday due to adverse weather conditions, leaving authorities unable to provide updated acreage figures for the Iron Fire.

Despite the setback, officials anticipate minimal growth in the fire’s size, noting that the majority of the ongoing fire activity has occurred within established containment lines. Firefighters have capitalized on this favorable fire behavior, resulting in containment levels reaching 50%.

The last estimate provided by the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office was 7,361 acres. So far, six structures have been threatened by the fire.

Additional resources have been deployed to the area, including a 20-person hand crew and a six-person engine module, resulting in a total of 71 fire line personnel working to contain the blaze. Crews are focusing on extinguishing isolated areas still retaining heat, with expectations of further containment gains by the end of the day.

The outlook for the firefighting efforts is closely tied to weather conditions. An anticipated weather system moving into the Craig area is predicted to bring rain and the possibility of lightning. Additionally, a potential rain or snow shower Tuesday morning could further aid containment efforts.

The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, Moffat County Road and Bridge, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, and Bureau of Land Management Northwest District Fire and Aviation are working together to achieve 100% containment.

Planned actions include ongoing mop-up operations by engines and hand crews along the fire’s edge, with a focus on extinguishing interior pockets still holding heat. Suppression repair efforts have commenced on heavy equipment fire lines, with assistance from Moffat County Road and Bridge road graders. This phase also includes erosion prevention and soil stabilization measures to mitigate environmental impacts.

As of now, there are no evacuation orders in effect. However, road closures remain in place. Moffat County Road 17 is closed from County Roads 7 to 3, and County Road 5 is closed from County Roads 3 to 7.

Smoke is not expected to directly impact roadways, but residents are encouraged to check local airsheds and the National Smoke Report for updates.

Firefighting aircraft may still be deployed as weather and wind conditions permit. Private pilots are being reminded to exercise extreme caution when flying near wildfire areas. Drones are prohibited near wildfires, as they are difficult to detect and can pose a significant hazard to firefighting operations.

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