Middle Fork Fire holds steady before warm, dry weather expected over weekend | SteamboatToday.com

Middle Fork Fire holds steady before warm, dry weather expected over weekend

A view of the Middle Fork Fire on Luna Lake Trail.
Submitted by Dan Wilson

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — While the Middle Fork Fire burning north of Steamboat Springs has not grown much since Monday, warm and dry weather expected to return this weekend could encourage further fire spread.

The 3,522-acre fire, which began Sunday, is burning in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area in Routt National Forest about 10 miles north of Steamboat. Officials with Routt National Forest and the Type 3 Incident Management Team working to cut down the blaze said it will likely need to be managed for several weeks, until persistent seasonal weather arrives.

Cloudy skies have prevented efforts to obtain aerial mapping over the past several days. Because of that, the size of the fire has not been officially updated.

According to Mike Weissbluth, owner and operator of local weather forecasting site snowalarm.com, high pressure will build over the West for this weekend and next week. With it will bring dry air, sun and warmer temperatures. Weissbluth’s forecast expects temperatures moving from the low 70s on Saturday to upper 70s Sunday, and up to the low 80s for the beginning of next week.

When the Middle Fork Fire was first reported on Sunday, temperatures were reaching near a daily record high. Gusty winds ahead of the early season snowstorm Tuesday helped spread the fire.

During Tuesday’s storm, a 56 mph gust was observed at the Bob Adams Airport in Steamboat and the National Weather Service said there were sustained winds of 48 mph at the top of Mount Werner with 54 mph winds elsewhere in Steamboat.

To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email bmartin@SteamboatPilot.com.

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