Mill Creek Fire now at 270 acres |

Mill Creek Fire now at 270 acres

Scott Franz
A tree goes up in flames on Saturday at the Mill Creek fire in North Routt.
Joel Reichenberger

Dozens of firefighters from around the state spent their Fourth of July holiday digging fire lines and trying to some make headway on a widlfire burning in California Park north of Hayden.

The Mill Creek Fire had burned 270 acres by Tuesday morning.

There was still no level of containment on the fire Tuesday afternoon, but a lack of wind in the morning and early afternoon made firefighting conditions more favorable.

And there was a chance some level of containment could be achieved later Tuesday.

“Firefighters are making good progress,” said Schelly Olson, a spokeswoman for the firefighting efforts.

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Olson said a group of Hayden residents stopped by the command center Tuesday to donate cases of bottled water to the firefighters.

There are 150 personnel assigned to the fire.

The blaze, which started Saturday on private land when a tree reportedly fell on a bulldozer, also crossed into Bureau of Land Management land and burned 15 acres.

Firefighters were focusing their efforts Tuesday on protecting structures that lie west of the fire and to keep it east of Routt County Road 80.

At a briefing Monday, emergency officials told Routt County commissioners some of the structures that could potentially be threatened by the fire include some seasonal hunting cabins.

Commissioners said they do not want to see firefighters risking their lives to protect these types of structures.

Management of the fire was handed over to the state, and a Type III Incident team was called in.

Immediately after the fire started, firefighters called in air drops of water from planes and a helicopter.

Before firefighters can claim any level of containment, a perimeter around the fire has to be established to prevent it from spreading.

Steamboat Springs Fire Chief Mel Stewart said a crew of firefighters from Steamboat would likely join the efforts Wednesday to relieve a crew from the U.S. Forest Service.

The Mill Creek Fire is one of a handful of fires still burning on the Western Slope.

The Gutzler Fire had burned 130 acres in Eagle County about 14 miles southwest of Kremmling. And the 102-acre Grand Hoback Fire was burning in Garfield County near New Castle.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

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