Update on 7 wildfires burning across Colorado
Editor’s note: This post was updated at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — At least seven wildfires are burning across Colorado, and one is approaching the state line in Wyoming. Wildfire danger is rated as extreme or very high across much of the state, including in Routt County, where fire danger was recently upgraded to very high.
A series of storms is forecast to roll through the area this weekend. Humidity and precipitation could bring some relief to firefighters, but crews are concerned storms could bring strong winds and lightning could spark new fires.
The many fires burning across Colorado are impacting tourism in the state, especially in southern Colorado, where San Juan National Forest, Purgatory Resort and the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad have all been closed. Many cities have also canceled Fourth of July fireworks displays. Here in Steamboat, the city has solidified its backup plan, and Las Vegas Lasers has been hired to put on a show at Howelsen Hill the evening of July Fourth.
Over the last 24 hours, the voracious 416 wildfire consumed another 2,522 acres of mostly forest lands west of U.S. Highway 550, Shawn Dawden, spokesman for the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team said Wednesday morning. The fire is 15 percent contained.
The most active part of the fire is in the southwest corner where the blaze is approaching neighborhoods, he said. Currently, 1,029 firefighters, eight helicopters and several airplanes are battling the wildfire, Dawden said.
The drought-driven wildfire has closed the San Juan National Forest in southwest Colorado for the first time in its 113-year history. The general public is prohibited from entering the 1.8 million-acre forest that stretches across nine counties. The closure comes at the start of the area’s busy summer season, which attracts visitors and tourists from around the world.
Read the full story at DenverPost.com.
Badger Creek Fire
A wildfire burning in southern Wyoming has doubled in size in the last 24 hours and has now burned 8.2 square miles. U.S. Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos says additional growth was expected Wednesday because of continued hot, dry and windy conditions. Voos says 393 homes in the area have been evacuated since the fire in the Medicine Bow National Forest was first reported on Sunday.
Sections of state highways 230 and 10 have been closed from the Woods Landing community to the Colorado state line. About 200 firefighters are on the scene, with more on the way. They are being supported by several helicopters and one air tanker. No structures have been lost. More than 3,000 people in Colorado and Wyoming remain under evacuation orders because of ongoing wildfires.
The Burro Fire in the Bear Creek drainage of the Dolores Valley continues to grow but is not threatening any structures. As of June 12, the Burro Fire east of Dolores scorched 2,684 acres. Five fire crews totaling 168 firefighters are on the scene along with an engine and two bulldozers, used to establish a fire line.
Read the full story at DurangoHerald.com.
Horse Park Fire
Size: 500 acres
Containment: 80 percent
Location: 23 miles north of Craig
Start date: June 12
On Tuesday, multiple wildfires closed Colorado Highway 13 about 23 miles north of Craig, near milepost 115, and forced the evacuation of one family living in the area. Multiple fast-moving fires that ignited in sagebrush burning near the highway forced law enforcement to close the roadway for about five hours.
The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, Craig Fire/Rescue, Colorado Department of Transportation, Yampa Valley Electric Association, and the Bureau of Land Management all responded, as well as volunteer crews from Wyoming’s Baggs and Encampment. BLM assumed command of the response and brought in helicopter air support.
The fire was about 80 percent contained Tuesday, June 12, and full containment is expected by Wednesday, June 13.
Crews continued mop-up efforts throughout the day Monday. Despite warm, dry and breezy conditions, there was minimal fire activity, with some smoking and smoldering within the interior of the fire perimeter, said Incident Commander Jeremy Spetter.
“Smoke and dust will continue to be visible in the coming days,” Spetter said. “There are still smoldering hot spots within the fire perimeter that may continue to produce smoke; we are being very diligent with our work because of continued weather conditions.”
Read the full story at VailDaily.com.
Buffalo Mountain Fire
As of Wednesday morning, June 13, there was no overnight growth of the Buffalo Mountain Fire, it remains at 91 acres. There is no containment at this time, according to Julie McCluskie, spokesperson at the joint information center for the Buffalo Mountain Fire.
Read the full story at SkyHiNews.com.
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