Muddy Slide Fire still estimated at 100 acres; aerial crews making drops as more hand crews requested
There are now between 50 and 100 firefighters and other personnel working on the Muddy Slide Fire in South Routt County, as the blaze is still estimated at around 100 acres.
The fire was first reported at 3 p.m. Sunday and is believed to only be within the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest. There are two hand crews on site, as well as multiple engines from local fire protection districts and from the U.S. Forest Service, according to Aaron Voos, spokesperson for the Forest.
“This is a highly visible fire based on where it is at,” Voos said. “People should expect to see smoke again. The fire is established … we’re going to be dealing with it for a few days.”
Routt County sent out pre-evacuation notices Sunday evening to residents near Green Ridge and the South Stagecoach area, which is to the east and north of the fire. There haven’t been any additional notices as of 11 a.m. Monday.
Voos said they are hoping to get a better size estimate of the fire on Monday, and there are crews on the ground trying to establish an anchor point and get a closer look at the fire. Crews are also continuing to assess threats to property in the area.
Kevin Thompson is the incident commander with the Forest Service on the fire. Voos said they hope to get Thompson in the air Monday to get a better look at the fire and determine what kind a fuels are out in front of the fire.
“Today should be a better fire weather day for us in that we’re expecting not much wind and cooler temperatures,” Voos said. “We are hoping to get a good feel for the fire today, and then, we will be able to determine what we think it is going to look like into the future.”
Voos said there are no closures around the fire at this time, but some are expected later in the day, though he did not know exactly where on Monday morning. This is pretty standard with larger sustained fires, he said.
Helicopters were working on the fire early Monday and will continue the aerial attack throughout the day. Voos said there have been drops of fire retardant from air tankers as well and more have been requested.
“If they see a spot fire that is a long ways from the main fire, for example, they are trying to make sure that we don’t end up with multiple fires, so they are going to be putting water on those,” Voos said. “There is a variety of different ways they can utilize those air resources.”
Aerial teams may also try to capitalize on natural breaks in the timber where there are fewer fuels available and the fire could be slowed.
Two hand crews are on scene, and Voos said they are looking to get more throughout the day. There are at least seven fire engines working on the fire. More crews are going door to door to assess the risk to buildings near the fire and helping residents prep for possible evacuation.
The exact number of firefighters working on the fire is very fluid. His best estimate was between 50 and 100.
“We are trying to get a feel for how many people we need, but at the same time, we are putting in requests for additional people,” Voos said.
He said people who live just beyond the pre-evacuation areas should have a plan for what they will do if the fire spreads.
“By all means, (residents near the pre-evacuation areas) should be prepping in case we get to that stage,” Voos said. “That doesn’t mean that we think that the fire will get there, but it is a possibility.”
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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