Dead Dog Fire closes U.S. Highway 40, grows to 2,000 acres in Moffat County |

Dead Dog Fire closes U.S. Highway 40, grows to 2,000 acres in Moffat County

Craig Daily Press

Smoky skies can be seen in western Moffat County, as shown in this traffic camera looking west from the Elk Springs Ranch on U.S. Highway 40 in Moffat County.

The Dead Dog Fire has exploded to about 2,000 acres mid-afternoon Monday, according to Bureau of Land Management spokesperson David Boyd.

Officials closed U.S. Highway 40 between Dinosaur and Skull Creek in western Moffat County near the Utah border shortly after 3 p.m., Boyd said. The fire was within a quarter-mile of the highway at that time.

Officials also ordered an evacuation of the small community of Blue Mountain and closed Rio Blanco County Road 1, which connects U.S. Highway 40 to Rangely, shortly after 2:30 p.m. Monday, according to Boyd.

The National Weather Service has issued a High Wind Warning for wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour for Rangely, Dinosaur, Craig, Hayden and Meeker until 7 p.m. Monday, with sustained winds from the southwest of 25 to 35 miles per hour.

A detour is being set up from Maybell following the Price Creek Road (Moffat County Road 57) to Meeker and Colorado Highway 64 to Rangely, according to Colorado State Patrol Captain Doug Conrad. Travelers passing through Craig are advised to use Colorado Highway 13 to detour through Meeker.

The fire began on BLM land 10 miles north of Rangely and was reported to be around only 40 acres with no containment Sunday evening.

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Firefighters are currently battling the fire on the ground and in the air.

Firefighters have been able to hold the 1,000-acre Hunter Fire 20 miles southwest of Meeker in check so far this afternoon. Air resources are being shared between the two fires.

A Red Flag Warning, indicating high fire danger, is in effect until 11 p.m. Monday.