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Silver Creek Fire in Routt National Forest grows to 1,800 acres

The Silver Creek Fire burns in Routt and Arapahoe national forests on Thursday.
Courtesy Adam Bromley

STEAMBOAT SPRING — The Silver Creek Fire grew from 1,319 acres Wednesday to 1,800 acres on Thursday.

The fire grew east and southeast, crossing U.S. Forest Service Road 100, also known as Buffalo Park Road. The fire is now burning in Routt and Grand counties in Routt National Forest and a portion of Arapahoe National Forest that is managed by Routt National Forest.

“It is still within the realm of the expected growth,” said Aaron Voos, a Forest Service spokesperson.

He added that firefighters had hoped to keep the fire west of Forest Service Road 100. Since crossing the road earlier this week, the fire has become established on the eastern side of the road.

Firefighters are prioritizing keeping the fire from moving farther south and east to protect structures at the Latigo Ranch and in Old Park, an unincorporated community about 12 miles northwest of Kremmling.

The Latigo Ranch is about 4 miles from the fire, and Old Park is about 6 miles from the fire. No evacuations are in place yet, Voos said, though preparations were made Friday in case the fire continues to move toward the Latigo Ranch.

Firefighters are also working to keep the burn on Forest Service land.

“We don’t want to share it with the state or with the (Bureau of Land Management) if we don’t have to, and I am sure they feel the same way,” Voos said.

On Friday, crews worked to build fire lines and determine where to put new fire lines. One hundred and two firefighters and at least two aircraft are working to suppress the fire.

Lightning in a remote part of the Sarvis Creek Wilderness Area is believed to have sparked the fire on June 19. The fire has closed Sarvis Creek Wilderness, including the Sarvis Creek and Silver Creek trails. Forest Service Road 100 is also closed near the fire.

Voos said closures could change if the fire continues to grow.

“If the fire continues to move to the south and the east we may expand the closure to the south and the east,” he said. “When that happens there may be an adjustment on other portions of the fire.”

The moisture that moved into the area Thursday night and Friday morning helped suppress the flames. Weather stations across Routt County received between 0.09 to 0.24 inches of rain between 7 a.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday according to data from the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network.

“This is a good day for firefighting,” Voos said Friday. “It’s a nice slow rain, not so much that it muddies everything up and causes flash floods and crews to leave the area, but enough to suppress the fire and temporarily put it down. This isn’t going to put the fire out by any means, but it will calm it down and give our crews a chance to dig in in some locations.”

The rain also helped knock down some of the haze that hung over the Yampa Valley earlier this week. The rain collects smoke particles as it falls through the air, settling these particles into the ground and clearing the air, said Scott Stearns, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Junction.

The haze was mostly caused by smoke drifting in from large wildfires in Northern California, but local fires have also contributed to the murky skies, he added.

Stearns said that through the weekend, it is unlikely that significant smoke will be visible in the Yampa Valley. Voos said smoke from the Silver Creek Fire will likely impact nearby communities to the east, including Old Park.

To reach Eleanor Hasenbeck, call 970-871-4210, email ehasenbeck@steamboattoday.com or follow her on Twitter, @elHasenbeck.


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