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Fire grows to 25 acres

— Despite cool, overcast weather, the Silver Creek Fire grew to 25 acres Tuesday and continued to eat though dead, beetle-killed lodgepole pine trees.

The lightning-caused fire southeast of Stagecoach Reservoir in the Sarvis Creek Wilderness was reported Saturday and grew to eight acres on Monday.

There are about 50 firefighters and fire managers working at the incident, and their focus is on keeping the fire off private land and away from the rural homes around Routt County Road 16.

Because it is dangerous, firefighters have not hiked to the fire, and fire managers are relying on daily reconnaissance flights to gather information.

“It wasn’t too active,” Incident Commander Lathan Johnson said Tuesday.

He said the fire was burning in a predictable mosaic pattern.

“It’s not a continuous line of fire,” Johnson said.

A community meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Stagecoach Fire Department to inform interested residents about the fire.

“The residents up here, they’re going to see flames,” Johnson said. “It’s visible from a ton of primary residences up here.”

The fire has plenty of dry wood for fuel, but growth and what direction the fire moves largely depends on the weather. A helicopter is assigned to the fire, but it has not been used to drop water on the blaze.

The closest structure is a little more than three-quarters of a mile west of the fire. Winds typically come from the west, but outflow winds from passing storms and other variables could cause the fire to come down the ridge toward structures.

“We hope for the best and plan for the worst,” Johnson said.

Oak Creek Fire Protection District Chief Chuck Wisecup is among the firefighters working at the incident.

He said many of the landowners over the years have taken steps to protect their property from wildfires.

“It’s what I’ve been planning for all these years,” Wisecup said.

The landowners have also paid to have dead trees removed from the subdivisions.

Firefighters on Tuesday were touring properties to determine what would need to be done to protect them from an approaching wildfire.

On Tuesday morning, smoke from the fire settled in low-lying areas. Fire managers anticipate this will continue, and those with respiratory issues should take precautions, such as shutting their windows.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland


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