Firefighters working to reinforce fire line around Murphy Fire northwest of Hayden, 1 home threatened |

Firefighters working to reinforce fire line around Murphy Fire northwest of Hayden, 1 home threatened

A firefighter walks toward a truck at the Murphy Fire northwest of Hayden on Friday night. Crews are working Sunday to reinforce the fire line around the fire after it grew significantly Saturday. One home is threatened by the fire. Photo courtesy West Routt Fire Protection District.

At a glance

  • The Murphy Fire is burning in sagebrush and grass about 5 miles northwest of Hayden.
  • Due to firefighting activity, officials ask that travelers avoid the area of Routt County Roads 76, 76A, 78 and 78A unless they live in the area.
  • The fire is burning in an estimated 690 acres.

Editor’s note: This story was corrected at 4:40 p.m. to reflect that the home that was evacuated was on Routt County Road 78A. 

HAYDEN — Routt County firefighters are battling a blaze about 5 miles northwest of Hayden. The fire, dubbed the Murphy Fire, sparked Friday night after a lightning strike hit the Murphy Ranch near the rest stop on mile marker 101 on U.S. Highway 40.

Some homes on Routt County roads 78 and 76 were placed on pre-evacuation notice Saturday, but the notice was lifted on Sunday, said Routt County Emergency Operations Director David “Mo” DeMorat. One home on County Road 78A was evacuated at about 7:45 p.m. Saturday, but residents were able to return Sunday morning.

Due to firefighting activity, officials are asking travelers to avoid the area of Routt County roads 76, 76A and 78 unless they live there.

Crews worked to reinforce the perimeter of the fire Sunday after the fire jumped fire lines Saturday, said West Routt Fire Protection District Fire Chief Dal Leck.

“We had a lot of active fire (Saturday). It jumped our lines,” Leck said.

He added that windy conditions Saturday helped the fire spread to the north and the west.

DeMorat said the fire was burning in about 690 acres on Sunday afternoon.

Emergency Alerts

How to sign up for Routt County Alerts

• Visit

• Download the Everbridge app to smartphones. The app has an orange logo.

• Manually sign up by calling Routt County Communications at 970-870-5532.

“We had pretty good containment last night and this morning,” Leck said Sunday. “It had laid down and was pretty dormant.”

He said the fire looked “pretty quiet” Sunday morning.

“We have to see what it looks like when the temperature picks up,” Leck said.

Nine engines from Oak Creek, North Routt and Steamboat Springs fire protection districts and Craig Rural Fire Protection District firefighters are assisting West Routt firefighters in working to contain the blaze. Bureau of Land Management firefighters based out of Craig are also on scene.

Though smoke from the fire is visible from Hayden, Leck said the community is not threatened.

“It does put up a lot of smoke,” he said. “It’s burning sagebrush and grass. When it flares up, it does put up a lot of smoke, and Hayden just happens to be downwind of it.”

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email or follow her on Twitter @elHasenbeck.

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