UPDATED: Silver Creek Fire blows up, jumps containment lines
This story was updated at 7:55 p.m.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Silver Creek Fire southeast of Steamboat Springs blew up and got very angry Wednesday, prompting evacuations and sending the fire over containment lines.
Early Wednesday afternoon, the fire was 4 to 5 miles south of U.S. Highway 40. It was not clear whether or not the fire could cause U.S. 40 to be closed.
It was the first time a large plume of smoke from the fire could be seen from Steamboat, prompting some community members to think it was a new fire.
“The direction that it’s heading is primarily into Grand County,” Voos said. “It’s the northeast portion of the fire right by Buffalo Park.”
Along Forest Service Road 100, known as Buffalo Park Road, officials were telling hunters to get out of the area quickly. The road is now closed.
Dave Roberts, from Mount Vernon, Missouri, was hunting and camping in the area with five other people. They were planning to hunt until Sunday.
A Forest Service employee expressed some urgency the third time he came to check on the hunting party Wednesday afternoon.
“The third time he said ‘Get your trucks out on the road,’” Roberts said.
The group was forced to leave behind some of their belongings, including tarps, tent poles and a wood stove that was hot.
“I was cooking a beef stew for these guys tonight,” Roberts said.
They also had to leave behind trash.
“I don’t ever do that,” Roberts said.
Fortunately, he thinks the fire will take care of the trash.
“We didn’t have time to get our stuff,” Roberts said. “We’re gonna have stuff that’s burnt.”
Harold Taylor, from Bristol, Virginia, said he was also planning on hunting in the area through Sunday.
“There ain’t nowhere else to go,” Taylor said. “Earlier today it was just a little bit of smoke and then this happened. I wish they would have put it out. We have to go.”
More evacuations and closures should be expected in the area, and there are some people who are deep in the woods and unaware of the evacuation.
Planes were circling above the fire, and the Routt National Forest was reporting that additional resources, including single-engine air tankers, have been ordered to assist with the fire.
Much of Western Colorado is under a red flag warning, which means the conditions were ideal for fires. The red flag warning continues through Thursday.
Routt County is currently under Stage 1 fire restrictions, meaning campfires are only allowed in provided fire grates.
The wind was strong at the fire Wednesday, which meant embers could easily spread and start new fires.
According to the last Silver Creek Fire update, issued on Sunday, Sept. 9, the fire was at 5,008 acres and 76 percent contained.
The fire has been relatively calm in recent weeks.
At one time, there were more than 500 firefighters assigned to the fire, which was started by lightning and discovered July 19.
There was a skeleton crew of 28 people assigned to the fire Wednesday, which is about 50 less than there were Sunday.
The Silver Creek Fire is not expected to be out until the snow flies.
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