Residents, fire officials celebrate just a taste of rain | SteamboatToday.com

Residents, fire officials celebrate just a taste of rain

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Residents and officials rejoiced as rain began to fall on wildfires burning near Steamboat Springs.

"Well you wished for it!" posted William Cotton on a Facebook group for the Old Park and Gore Pass communities near the Silver Creek Fire. "It looks like rain every day through next Tuesday with one to three inches of snow likely next Monday."

Old Park resident Ellen Buras was also celebrating.

"Let it rain, let it rain in OP (Old Park)," she posted along with a photo of raindrops on a window.

The rain has prompted officials to lift pre-evacuation notices for the Lake Agnes community, Rabbit Ears Village and the ranches and homes along U.S. Highway 40.

"This decision was made due to the firefighting efforts over the last few days, an increase in moisture from rain, as well as a favorable outlook for rain in the near future," wrote Grand County Sheriff's Office spokesman Christian Hornbacker, who has been giving frequent updates to residents.

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Locally, in Routt County, fire officials were cautiously celebrating the moisture.

"We need more but yay," North Routt Fire Protection District Chief Mike Swinsick said. "We got maybe a quarter inch from what I can tell. There is snow in that forecast for Clark and Steamboat Lake area."

It will all be up to Mother Nature and the remnants of Hurricane Rosa.

"I'll believe it when I see it," Swinsick said.

Routt County commissioners decided Tuesday to remain in Stage 2 fire restrictions, which prohibits all fires.

"I'll believe the rain when I see it," Commissioner Tim Corrigan said when discussing current conditions.

The region was meeting five of the seven criteria used to help determine when to put restrictions in place.

Local fire officials will have another conference call Thursday to evaluate whether enough rain has fallen to recommend lowering restrictions.

If there is optimism, commissioners could meet again Friday to discuss restrictions.

"If we don't see something more tonight and tomorrow, I don't see that happening," Routt County Emergency Management Director David "Mo" DeMorat said.

Steamboat area weather watchers provided their rain totals for the previous 24-hour period on Wednesday morning.

Steamboat got between .08 and .25 inches, and Oak Creek received between .07 and .12 inches.

National Weather Service meteorologist Dennis Phillips said between a half-inch to an inch of additional rain is possible through Monday.

"We've also had this before where we haven't got as much as forecasted," DeMorat said.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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