Ryan Fire in Routt and Medicine Bow National Forests grows to 1,800 acres in a day
WALDEN — The Ryan Fire has more than tripled in size in less than a day.
On Sunday afternoon, U.S. Forest Service spokesperson Aaron Voos estimated the fire had burned about 500 acres near the border of Colorado and Wyoming, north of Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area. By Sunday evening, the fire was reported at 1,832 acres, according to a Forest Service news release.
The fire started in the northern edge of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness in Jackson County, about 20 miles northwest of Walden. It was first reported late Saturday evening. The Ryan Fire quickly spread north, crossing Forest Service Road 80 and the state line. The fire is now burning in Routt and Medicine Bow National Forests.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Firefighters initially battled the flames using ground crews and aerial support. High winds grounded helicopters, and rapid growth made it too dangerous for ground crews to continue fighting the blaze. Firefighters then shifted their attention to evacuating campers and hunters in the area.
The Forest Service said all known camps within the fire’s path were evacuated by Sunday evening.
Several closures are in place due to fire activity, including impacts to game management unit 161 in Colorado, and elk area 13 and deer area 81 in Wyoming.
In Colorado, the entire length of Forest Service Road 80 and a portion of Mount Zirkel Wilderness and the Hog Park Guard Station are closed. In Wyoming, Blackhall Mountain and the southern side of Forest Roads 496 and 404 are closed.
No structures have been destroyed or are at immediate risk. The nearest structures are about 3 miles northeast of the fire in Big Creek and Jerry Parks, both areas in Medicine Bow National Forest.
Fifty firefighters are currently working the fire, and more are on the way.
On Monday, the fire was being managed by a Type III command team, but management will be transferred to the Rocky Mountain Black Type II incident management team on Tuesday. A Type II team is used in managing more complex fires.
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Editor’s note: This story was updated at 2:20 p.m. Wednesday to include comment from the president of Xcel Energy Colorado.