Area wildfires see significant growth over the weekend | SteamboatToday.com
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Area wildfires see significant growth over the weekend

Scott Franz
A great blue heron flies above Stagecoach Reservoir as the Silver Creek Fire billows smoke Sunday. Fueled by strong winds, the fire grew to 303 acres through the weekend.
Scott Franz

— Strong winds and low humidity over the weekend stoked all of the wildfires burning in northwest Colorado and southern Wyoming, leaving towns from Toponas to Laramie socked in with smoke.

The spike in fire activity is also poised to result in the closures of some more trails and recreation areas in the National Forest around Steamboat Springs.

U.S. Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos said officials planned to close the Sarvis Creek Trail Monday due to some growth in the Silver Creek Fire burning southeast of Stagecoach Reservoir.

The lightning-caused fire grew to 303 acres over the weekend.

But the blaze isn’t doing anything unexpected.

“It’s still in the (Sarvis Creek) wilderness, and it’s basically doing what we’ve anticipated it would do,” Voos said. “It’s slowly growing or staying stable until it gets the right weather.”

The new fire closure zone includes nine miles of the Sarvis Creek Trail, starting from the Buffalo Park area.

Meanwhile, firefighters had to turn some of their attention to a brand new blaze in Wyoming that is growing two miles north of the Routt County line.

Fueled by wind gusts as high as 40 miles per hour, the new Snake Fire saw “incredible growth” over the weekend, Voos said.

“When they found it on Saturday night, it was about 30 acres,” he said. “But, as of Sunday midday, it was about 200 acres, and I just got a report this morning that it’s at 2,350 acres. It just grew incredibly yesterday afternoon and last night.”

The cause of that fire is under investigation.

Voos said hikers in the area of Elkhorn Mountain in extreme North Routt County called to report they could see the flames. They were wondering whether they should be concerned.

The fire has not impacted any recreation sites in North Routt because it has been spreading to the north and east, away from the Routt County line.

Voos said firefighters were able to use resources such as a helicopter that was already in the area battling the Beaver Creek and Broadway fires, which are also seeing growth.

The Lost Solar Fire, which is burning in a remote part of the Flat Tops Wilderness 24 miles southeast of Meeker, has grown to 4,400 acres.

Firefighters are hoping some forecasts for precipitation and cooler temperatures will come true in the coming days and decrease fire activity in the region.

Voos said if the fires are stoked again, Yampa Valley residents could expect to see smoke in the area.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10


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