Muddy Slide Fire reaches 4K acres; 122 personnel assisting with fire |

Muddy Slide Fire reaches 4K acres; 122 personnel assisting with fire

The Muddy Slide Fire, seen here from Lynx Pass to the fire’s southeast, reached 4,000 acres by Wednesday evening. (Photo by Dylan Anderson)

YAMPA — After two days of increasing activity, the Muddy Slide Fire burning in South Routt County has reached 4,000 acres, according to fire officials.

A multi-mission aircraft mapped the fire’s perimeter at around noon Wednesday, at which time the fire was estimated to have grown to roughly 3,500 acres. An update followed later in the evening that the fire instead had a 4,000-acre footprint.

Officials have set July 7 as an arbitrary date for full containment, though that could vary wildly dependent upon weather conditions.

Personnel at the fire totaled 122 as of Wednesday evening and was set to transition to a Type 2 Incident Management Team, the Blue Team, beginning Thursday. Rocky Mountain Blue Team members represent a variety of organizations, such as the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Park Service and various state entities. The team is responsible for responding to emergency needs throughout the country, particularly in the case of wildfires and other national disasters.

An airtanker drops fire retardant on the Muddy Slide Fire on Wednesday afternoon as crews continue to battle the blaze, located east of Yampa and south of Stagecoach. (Photo by John F. Russell)

Handcrews at the scene worked Wednesday to provide structure protection and triage, according to officials. No structures have been immediately impacted as of Wednesday evening, but a mandatory evacuation remains in place for residents along Routt County Road 16, between mile markers 12 and 21.

An evacuation center initially set up at Soroco High School in Oak Creek will relocate to the adjacent middle school and open at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Fire behavior Wednesday included short crown runs, which is the movement of fire through the crowns of trees or shrubs.

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction called for a 10% chance of precipitation Wednesday evening in the area of the Muddy Slide Fire, with mostly cloudy conditions and a west southwest wind around 15 mph.

Isolated showers and thunderstorms are forecast for the area before 11 p.m., according to the weather service, with scattered showers between 11 p.m. and midnight and then scattered showers and thunderstorms after midnight. There’s a 40% chance of precipitation. Winds will change to a south southwest wind around 10 mph late Wednesday night.

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