Size of Muddy Slide Fire slightly reduced to just over 4K acres after more accurate mapping
The size of the Muddy Slide Fire is now listed at 4,093 acres, a slight downgrade from the previous estimate after more accurate mapping of the fire was conducted Sunday.
Rain has continued to keep fire activity low and allowing fire managers to better prepare to deal with the fire, which is expected to burn for a long time. Despite lower activity, heavy, dead fuels within the fire’s perimeter are still burning.
“When sunny weather returns, fuels will begin drying out, and fire activity will increase, given the extensive available beetle-killed lodgepole pine,” according to a post to the fire’s official Facebook page late Sunday.
While still at 0% containment, there are now almost 300 people working on the fire, including four Hotshot crews, two fire modules, 16 engines and seven different helicopters, according to InciWeb, a website that provides updates about fires across the country.
Beau Kidd, operations section chief on the Muddy Slide Fire, said crews have completed heavy equipment lines to the southwest of the fire in an area being called Division Alpha. To do this, crews used a bulldozer to scrape down to the soil under the power lines, leaving no burnable vegetation.
Crews also have been directly engaging the fire over the ridge in this area away from the power lines, Kidd said.
“That operation is going well,” Kidd said. “We are feeling pretty confident of our actions up in Division Alpha that the fire line is getting more secure every day, but the rain obviously helps.”
Northwest of the fire, Kidd said crews are working to create an indirect fire line with the help of Hotshot crews. Firefighters are widening out a creek bottom and part of a trail to create the line, which will help stop the fire if it moves that way. Kidd hopes to have this line completed in the next couple of days.
To the east in Division Tango, Kidd said the area is looking really good and could actually show some of the first containment of the fire along Routt County Road 16 in the coming days.
“(The fire) has moved down into an area with green grass,” Kidd said. “The timber is no longer a threat to the line in most areas.”
To the south, work continues on an indirect line that will connect the existing power line with some clear cuts of trees, closer to C.R. 16. Crews are also continuing structure protection further north in subdivisions near Stagecoach, even though the fire is not expected to reach that far.
“The intent there is to produce a structure protection plan, even if it is not used on this fire, it is valuable for the forest, the county or the rural fire protection district,” Kidd said.
Crews also are still scouting out further away from the fire, assessing what structures are at risk if it were to cross C.R. 16, Kidd said.
Lower fire danger and less smoke have caused some people to enter the closed area around the fire, but officials stress the area is closed, and people should stay out. C.R. 16 remains closed from mile marker 8 south to Colorado Highway 134. Parts of the Routt National Forest around the fire are also still closed.
Stage 2 fire restrictions are in place in Routt County, and Stage 1 restrictions are in place in the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest.
Water may continue to be taken out of Stagecoach Reservoir to the north of the fire, but boats are still allowed on the water, said Kris Middledorf, area manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
“If these planes come in, we need everyone to be aware of it and safely move to the shoreline,” Middledorf said. “Stagecoach State Park is fully open to all visitors and boating activities.”
1. All open fires and campfires are prohibited except petroleum-fueled stoves, lanterns, and heating devices that are underwriter approved.
NOTE: Any permit issued by a fire protection district, the Routt County Sheriff’s Office or the Routt County Office of Emergency Management prior to this declaration is rescinded unless resubmitted and approved by the appropriate authority as identified in paragraph 1 of the exemptions section of this fire restriction notice, or until these restrictions are lifted by the Routt County Board of County Commissioners.
2. Smoking is restricted to enclosed vehicles and buildings.
3. All chainsaws and other internal combustion engines, including motorcycles and ATVs, must have spark-arresting devices that are properly installed and in working order.
4. Use of fireworks of any variety.
5. Use of explosives.
6. Outdoor use of welding and cutting torch devices.
7. Use of tracer rounds or incendiary targets for all shooting activities in the county.
8. Individual agencies (such as fire protection districts, or state or federal organizations) may further restrict commercial activities not included in this declaration, such as construction, logging, or oil and gas operations.
Source: Routt County
To reach Dylan Anderson, call 970-871-4247 or email danderson@SteamboatPilot.com.
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The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a winter storm warning for much of the West Slope ahead of a major weather system expected in the area starting Thursday.