Rocky Mountain Youth Corps sends members to help crews on Middle Fork Fire |

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps sends members to help crews on Middle Fork Fire

Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crew members repair a section of the Lone Pine Trail in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area on Aug. 27.
Courtesy/John Meyers

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — An 11-person team of 18- to 25-year-olds were assigned to assist crews working on the Middle Fork Fire in September and October, according to the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps.

The young adults worked on the fire as part of the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps’ wildfire training program, which has been in operation for several years. The team spent time with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to monitor the blaze, which continues to burn about 10 miles north of Steamboat Springs.

“Working on an active fire has provided me with an abundance of knowledge related to wildland fire management and is allowing me to head into the next fire season feeling confident and prepared,” said Jordan Wilson, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps fire crew leader.

While the team has since left the scene, they are able to be called back out to help at any time as the fire continues. The training engages young adults to serve as a crew for over 18 weeks on fire fuels reduction projects on public lands.

The young team joined nine others to form a Type 2 hand crew as part of the project, with members working on indirect handling construction, snagging operations, fire effects monitoring, mapping and scouting.

“This collaboration is invaluable to the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crew members who are trained by and work alongside federal agencies,” said Mark Wertheimer, chief operating officer of Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. “On the ground experience serves as a real field test and provides young people with a pathway to future careers in wildland firefighting and other areas of natural resource management.”

As of Tuesday, the Middle Fork Fire was measured at 19,305 acres. Incident Commander Jeramy Dietz attributed the growth to more accurate mapping from a recon flight completed Monday evening.

A report from the forest service stated additional resources will be delivered to the fire Tuesday and helicopter crews will continue to drop water on the fire as long as conditions allow.

Fire crews are mainly concerned about 18 to 35 mph wind gusts expected late Tuesday, the report states.

There are currently no evacuation or pre-evacuation warnings in Routt County, though Jackson County has issued pre-evacuations along Rainbow Lakes, Aqua Fria, as well as Teal and Tiago Lakes areas. These pre-evacuations are primarily for hunters and ranchers in those areas.

Routt National Forest is closed along the Zirkel Wilderness boundary east from Buffalo Pass Trailhead and north to Lost Ranger Trail. On the west, the closure follows the forest boundary from Red Dirt Trailhead north to the North Fork drainage. To the south, the closure follows Red Dirt Trail, Saddle and Saddle Cutoff trails, southeast to Rocky Peak, the intersection of Forest Service Road 314 and Summit Park Trail, southeast to the South Fork Soda Creek Drainage to Buffalo Pass Trailhead. And on the north, the closure follows Lost Ranger Trail west, the Continental Divide Trail south to Lost Ranger Peak west to The Dome and down the North Fork drainage.

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