LIVE UPDATES: Morgan Creek Fire in North Routt grows to 4,443 acres

The smoke-filled sky above the Morgan Creek Fire takes on a reddish glow as viewed from Seedhouse Road in North Routt County after 10:30 p.m. Sunday. The latest report has the fire, which is moving southeast into the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area and toward Floyd Peak, at 3,858 acres as of Monday night. (Photo by John F. Russell)

1:15 p.m. Warmer weather is fueling an increase in fire activity at the Morgan Creek Fire. The North Routt blaze, which is burning 15 miles north of Steamboat Springs in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness, has now grown to 4,443 acres and is still 0% contained with 395 firefighting personnel on scene, according to a fire update released Monday morning.


Fire activity at the Morgan Creek Fire is expected to increase at the start of the week, but rain as early as Tuesday could help continue the trend of minimal growth.


9:05 a.m. A Type II incident command team, specifically the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team Black, has been ordered and is mobilizing.

8 a.m. An air quality alert has been issued for Routt County as areas of moderate to heavy smoke have been observed, particularly for northern Routt County in close vicinity to the Morgan Creek Fire.

Conditions are expected to gradually improve by late morning into the afternoon as atmospheric mixing increases and shower and thunderstorm development is expected. By late Tuesday evening heavy smoke should mainly be confined to lower elevations surrounding the fire, with generally isolated pockets of heavy smoke elsewhere.


8:30 p.m. The Morgan Creek Fire has grown to 3,858 acres and is still 0% contained, according to the latest update filed on Inciweb. The Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team Black, a Type 2 team, has been ordered and is mobilizing to fight the Morgan Creek Fire. An acreage update is forthcoming. Movement continues to the southeast into Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area and toward Floyd Peak as well as the Burn Ridge Fire and Middle Fork Fire burned areas. Fire behavior is moderate, with backing, spotting, crowning and torching. There is a chance for precipitation over the fire on Tuesday.

5 p.m. The size of the Morgan Creek Fire has not been updated since Sunday night. Due to smoke and weather conditions, a mapping flight was unable to occur at noon, according to public information officer Hutson Vann. The fire is being aerially mapped this evening, and an update on acreage is expected sometime tonight. Vann said it is expected the fire will have grown. A Type 2 incident team will be arriving on scene Tuesday to take over control of the fire, which is growing more complex, according to Vann.

11:30 a.m. The Morgan Creek Fire has now grown to 3,414 acres and is 0% contained. The fire has entered the Mount Zirkel Wilderness.

11:15 a.m. An air quality advisory for wildfire smoke has been issued for Routt County. According to the advisory, if moderate to heavy smoke is visible, air quality has reached levels that are unhealthy. Particulate matter exposure is the principal public health threat from short-term exposures to wildfire smoke. For current air quality reports, click here.


6 p.m. A trio of helicopters made drops over the Morgan Creek Fire on Sunday as officials have issued a broad forest closure, shuttering many of the most popular trails in North Routt County.

5 p.m. The Morgan Creek Fire has closed many popular trails along Seedhouse Road just north of Clark in Routt County, according the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. Trails include: Gilpin Lake, the Zirkel Circle, Gold Creek Lake, Three Islands Lake, Mica Lake, Mount Zirkel Summit, a section of the Continental Divide Trail and more.


7:30 p.m. North Routt Fire Protection District is estimating the Morgan Creek Fire has now grown to over 2,100 acres. A Type 3 Incident Command team will assume command of the fire Sunday morning.

4:45 p.m. The Forest Service is getting ready to issue trail closures in the fire area, according to U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Aaron Voos. While Voos said the plan has not yet been finalized, the closure is expected either late Saturday or early Sunday. Trail closures would be similar to last year’s Middle Fork Fire closures but pushed further north and would include much of the Continental Divide Trail.

3 p.m. The fire was mapped Saturday morning and is now 1,661 acres. It’s currently moving south/southeast and has entered the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area near Burn Ridge.

Morgan Creek Fire from near Seedhouse Guard Station on Friday night. (Photo by Sean Carey, U.S. Forest Service)

9 a.m. Strong winds overnight have pushed the fire’s size close to 1,500 acres estimated by thermal mapping, according to the North Routt Fire Protection District.

7:30 a.m. A Type III Incident Command team has been ordered to respond to the fire.

7 a.m. The Morgan Creek Fire in North Routt County has grown to 250 to 300 acres, according to fire officials, and is currently heading southeast toward Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area.

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