Cooler temps, rain help slow Morgan Creek Fire |

Cooler temps, rain help slow Morgan Creek Fire

The area of the Morgan Creek Fire in North Routt County is marked in red. (Courtesy)

Cooler and wetter weather is helping the almost 400 crew members working on the Morgan Creek Fire in North Routt County, but warmer temperatures and drier conditions are expected into the weekend.

Remapped by aerial crews Wednesday, the fire is now at 5,548 acres, which is only minimal growth from the previous mapping. Humid conditions remained Wednesday in the area of the fire, which diminished behavior, according to crews.

Extreme heat remains in the heavy fuels where the fire was active earlier this week, and firefighters suggest those areas will become active once again if temperatures increase and humidity decreases in the coming days.

Crews continued Wednesday with improving, mopping up and patrolling the indirect fire line south of Wapiti Ranch and east to the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area boundary, supported by two Type 1 and two Type 3 helicopters.

Crews also worked Wednesday to prep the line along Routt County Road 400, using heavy machinery to clear some of the heavy dead and downed timber, which can fuel the blaze.

Officials determined the fire was started by lightning. It is currently at 0% containment.

As the fire continues, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued another air quality alert Thursday morning for North Routt County.

Air quality has been approaching levels where healthy adults may experience serious health effects from prolonged exposure of at least 24 hours, according to the state health department.

When moderate to heavy smoke is present, residents are asked to try to remain indoors if possible, especially if they have heart disease, respiratory illnesses, are very young or are elderly. If visibility is less than 5 miles due to smoke, air quality has reached unhealthy levels.

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