Middle Fork Fire surpasses 8,000 acres | SteamboatToday.com

Middle Fork Fire surpasses 8,000 acres

Minimal smoke was seen from the Middle Fork Fire on Monday, but has since increased throughout the week.
Courtesy/U.S. Forest Service

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — After almost four weeks of burning through Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area in the Routt National Forest, the Middle Fork Fire has now surpassed 8,000 acres.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the fire burned 8,037 acres and is 0% contained, according to a report from the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire is burning about 10 miles north of Steamboat Springs, and officials had not ordered any evacuations as of Wednesday.

With warmer and drier weather expected in the next few days, the fire’s incident team expects increased activity, according to its daily incident report.

Jesse McCarty, Forest Service spokesman, said he “would not be surprised” if the fire continued until Routt County receives snow, which is not forecast in the next 10 days.

While the fire is not contained, a portion of the eastern fire perimeter has not spread for more than two weeks, according to the report.

Trail closures
  • About 10 miles of CDNST from 1132 to 1131
  • 1130 Rainbow Lake
  • 1179 Roxy Ann Lake
  • 1099 Ditch Creek
  • 1100 and 1100.4A Swamp Park (within Wilderness Area only)
  • 1118 Elk Park
  • 1168 Luna Lake
  • 1168.1 Fish Hawk Lake
  • 1170 Chilton
  • 1182 Crags
  • 1184 Big Creek Lake
  • 1171 Red Dirt past Trail 1140 intersection

(source: Middle Fork Fire Incident Management Team)

About 95 personnel are assigned to the fire, including four helicopters and a fixed-wing airplane to help coordinate aerial operations, the report states.

Portions of the Routt County National Forest are closed, including Mount Zirkel Wilderness boundary on the east side, the south side on Newcomb Creek Trail, Continental Divide Trail, the wilderness boundary and Swamp Park Trail, Saddle Trail, Saddle Cut-off and Red Dirt Trail. The west side between National Forest and private lands east of Big Creek from Red Dirt Trailhead to Roaring Fork Trail and the north side along the wilderness boundary. The North Fork Drainage up to The Dome, east to Lost Ranger Peak, Continental Divide Trail and Lost Ranger Trail are also closed. No roads or trailheads are closed.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Steamboat and Routt County make the Steamboat Pilot & Today’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.