Update on at least 10 fires burning across Colorado, including 1 in Routt National Forest | SteamboatToday.com

Update on at least 10 fires burning across Colorado, including 1 in Routt National Forest

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 4:45 p.m. Thursday.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A wildfire burning in Routt National Forest about 13 miles northeast of Steamboat Springs in Jackson Country grew to 45 acres Wednesday and is 40 percent contained.

The Chedsey Fire growth was mostly due to a burnout operation, where firefighters ignite vegetation to “help secure the perimeter of the fire,” according to a report by the U.S. Forest Service.

“We’re hoping to have some additional gains in the containment at some point,” Medicine Bow-Routt National Forest spokesman Aaron Voos said. “That’s part of the reason that they did those burnouts.”

Firefighter safety is a concern because the fire is burning in an area thick with beetle-killed lodgepole pine trees.

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“From the very get-go, we had to kind of take an indirect suppression approach to it,” Voos said. “We couldn’t go right in on it and actively suppress it.”

Firefighters focused their efforts on solidifying fire lines on nearby roads and waited for the fire to come to them, Voos said.

“That’s the reality of firefighting in beetle-kill areas,” he said.

Closures in the area include Teal Lake Campground and Newcomb Park Trail along with Jonah, Whale, Martha, Shoestring and Albert lakes.

Update on wildfires burning across Colorado

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Spring Creek Fire

• Size: 103,357 acres
• Containment: 5 percent
• Location: 9 miles northeast of Ft. Garland
• Start date: June 27
• Cause: human
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5875/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/SpringCreekFire/

A 300-foot-high wall of wildfire swept over a subdivision overnight turning an untold number of homes into cinders and making unprecedented acreage gains in the middle of the night when wildfires are normally docile, authorities say.

“It was a perfect fire storm. This is a national disaster at this time,” said Ben Brack, fire spokesman of the racing Spring Creek fire now burning in three southern Colorado counties. “You can imagine standing in front of a tsunami or tornado and trying to stop it from destroying homes. A human response is ineffective.”

Since the fire was ignited by a man cooking in a fire pit June 27, wind currents out of the southwest have been mostly pushing the north end of the 100,000-acre-plus wildfire in a northeasterly direction. But a cold front swept in overnight turning the fire 180 degrees. It was a good thing for homes on the eastern flank, but an absolutely devastating turn of events for neighborhoods and pine forests on the western flank, Brack said.

With wind gusts of 35 mph, the fast-moving blaze defied measurement, Brack said. Officials say the total number of damaged homes stands at 119 and the number of demolished homes is 132, although authorities know those figures are a small percentage of the affected homes. Dangerous conditions have made it too difficult for county officials to go into neighborhoods and count how many homes have been damaged or destroyed. Tallies are expected to rise significantly.

Officially, the fire swept over an additional 15,000 to 20,000 acres at night, when wildfires normally lay down as temperatures drop.

Read the full story at DenverPost.com.

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416 Fire

• Size: 54,129
• Containment: 45 percent
• Location: 13 miles north of Durango
• Start date: June 1
• Cause: unknown
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5822/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/416Fire/

Fire officials expect steady growth of the 416 Fire over the next week, with scattered storms, dry lightning and wind gusts that could reach 50 mph.

Fire managers will monitor isolated thunderstorms expected during the next few days over the San Juan Mountains, but they don’t expect a lot of precipitation over the burn area. Though the storms are not likely to be widespread, they do carry the risk of dry lightning.

Collapsing thunderstorms could create erratic outflow winds with gusts up to 50 mph throughout the weekend, incident meteorologist Gerry Claycomb said.

However, the storms could bring moisture to the burn area. Claycomb predicts there is a 50 percent chance of rain Friday afternoon, which could result in anywhere from 0.1 to 0.25 inches of moisture. Though the rain won’t stifle the flames, the moisture will increase the relative humidity and will make it harder for fuels to burn.

Read the full story at DurangoHerald.com

Badger Creek Fire

• Size: 21,196 acres
• Containment: 80 percent
• Location: Snowy Range and Medicine Bow National Forests, Wyoming
• Start date: June 10
• Cause: under investigation
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5836/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/BadgerCreekFire/

The Badger Creek Fire grew to 21,190 acres late last week, as hot, dry and windy weather conditions pushed the fire containment lines northeast.

As of Monday, the fire is 80 percent contained. Highway 230 and Highway 10, which were closed briefly on Friday, are open to all traffic at this time.

While wet weather Saturday helped crews gain containment on the fire, warmer, drier weather has moved into the region, which will last well into this week, according to an update from the South and Western Wyoming Type 3 Incident Management Team.

Read the full story at LaramieLive.com.

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Weston Pass Fire

• Size: 12,939 acres
• Containment: 15 percent
• Location: 9 miles southwest of Fairplay
• Start date: June 28
• Cause: lightning
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5876/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/WestonPassFire/

The Weston Pass fire grew by about 1,400 acres to a total of 10,727 acres Wednesday. The fire, burning 9 miles south of Fairplay, is 15 percent contained.

“Weather today is presenting another challenging day for firefighters. … Afternoon thunderstorms have the potential of dry lightning, but the biggest concern is shifting wind direction behind the passage of a cold front,” according to a news release Thursday.

The strong gusty and erratic winds are a safety concern for firefighters.

Crews on the northern section of the fire are extending the fire line and mopping up hot spots. On the southern and western fronts, crews are prepping lines for back-burning operations.

Read the full story at DenverPost.com

Emergency responders work on containment of flames Wednesday along Moffat County Road 5.

Divide Fire

• Size: 11,898 acres
• Containment: zero percent
• Location:32 miles north of Craig
• Start date: June 29
• Cause: under investigation

After several days with little activity, the Divide Fire about 32 miles north of Craig flared up Wednesday, burning an additional 6,780 acres for a total of nearly 12,000 acres with no containment, according to a news release from the Bureau of Land Management.

The fire caused the town’s fireworks display to be canceled because Craig Fire Rescue crews were responding to the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The initial response focused on saving homes, said Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume, who added that despite those efforts one home was lost to the fire bringing to two the total loss of structures by both fires.

Read more at CraigDailyPress.com.

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Burro Fire

• Size: 4,578 acres
• Containment: 40 percent
• Location: San Juan National Forest
• Start date: June 8
• Cause: under investigation
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5834/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/BurroFire/

The Burro fire is now 4,578 acres and is 40 percent contained.

The wildfire, first reported June 8, is burning in very steep terrain on both sides of Bear Creek near the Gold Run Trail. It is about 14 miles south of Rico.

The northwest side of the fire is active. The fire is also growing on the southern side of Bear Creek, moving slowly down drainage toward Colorado 145. The southwest side is burning toward Windy Gap.

Read the full story at DenverPost.com

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Lake Christine Fire

• Size: 4,900 acres
• Containment: 0 percent
• Location: northwest of Basalt
• Start date: July 3
• Cause: human

The Lake Christine Fire destroyed three homes during a “prolific ember shower” overnight Wednesday into Thursday morning, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office and U.S Forest Service.

“We’re pretty sure three structures were lost,” said Jennifer Costich, public information officer for the federal government firefighting team.

“The Lake Christine Fire grew significantly on July 4th, due to erratic outflow winds, extremely dry fuels, and single digit relative humidity,” Eagle County Sheriff’s Office posted on its website. “Local crews worked all night long, performing firing operations and protecting over a hundred homes.”

The fire grew so much Wednesday night that an estimated of acreage wasn’t available yet Thursday morning. It had burned nearly 2,700 acres by 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Read the full story at AspenTimes.com

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Chateau Fire

• Size: 1,423 acres
• Containment: 75 percent
• Location: northeast of Cripple Creek
• Start date: June 29
• Cause: under investigation
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5878/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/ChateauFire/

The fire, burning in the Pike National Forest, has scorched almost 1,400 acres. As of Thursday, the fire is 75 percent contained, which is a big increase over the 15 percent containment Tuesday.

More than 400 “first responders” were working Tuesday on the fire, according to the Teller County Sheriff’s Office. The blaze is about 7 miles northwest of Cripple Creek.

Roads closed in the area include County Roads 11, 12 and 111; County Road 1 is closed from Deer Mountain to County Road 11.

Firefighters on Tuesday battled an active fire fueled by 80-degree weather, humidity in the low teens and winds gusting up to 45 mph. Thunderstorms late in the day did not bring significant moisture.

Read the full story at DenverPost.com

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Sugarloaf Fire

• Size: 1,245 acres
• Containment: zero percent
• Location: 13 miles southwest of Fraser
• Start date: June 28
• Cause: lightning
• More info: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5872/
• Photos: https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/SugarloafFire/

While the massive smoke plume is no longer visible around Grand County, the Sugarloaf Fire that began last week has grown to more than 1,200 acres, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire, which is burning about 13 miles southwest of Fraser in the Williams Fork Drainage, is expected to continue to creep and smolder and back down slopes and make flanking and uphill runs when alignment allows within the Darling Creek drainage.

The fire is expected to primarily move to the north and northeast with prevailing winds.

Read the full story at SkyHiNews.com.

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