Wind gusts contribute to slight Middle Fork Fire spread

An aerial view of the Middle Fork Fire taken Wednesday.
Courtesy/U.S. Forest Service

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — High winds on Tuesday did little to expand the footprint of the Middle Fork Fire, which now stands at 19,782 acres.

Gusty winds were expected again Wednesday at the fire site, according to fire officials, potentially reaching up to 45 mph. As of Tuesday, the fire was measured at 19,305 acres.

Additional resources arrived Tuesday to help with the fire, currently burning about 10 miles north of Steamboat Springs in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area of Routt National Forest. Those resources continued to built containment lines and extinguish hot spots.

According to officials, structure protection measures have been completed in the Big Creek area to the west of the fire.

Courtesy/U.S. Forest Service

Crews continue to monitor the fire’s activity and building containment lines where possible, as well and dropping water when conditions allow.

Seasonal temperatures will continue Wednesday, with highs of 56 to 61 degrees. Wednesday evening will see lows dip between 22 and 27 degrees, with possible wind gusts up to 25 mph.

There are currently no evacuation or pre-evacuation warnings in Routt County, though Jackson County has issued pre-evacuations along Rainbow Lakes, Aqua Fria, as well as Teal and Tiago Lakes areas. These pre-evacuations are primarily for hunters and ranchers in those areas.

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Routt National Forest is closed along the Zirkel Wilderness boundary east from Buffalo Pass Trailhead and north to Lost Ranger Trail. On the west, the closure follows the forest boundary from Red Dirt Trailhead north to the North Fork drainage. To the south, the closure follows Red Dirt Trail, Saddle and Saddle Cutoff trails, southeast to Rocky Peak, the intersection of Forest Service Road 314 and Summit Park Trail, southeast to the South Fork Soda Creek Drainage to Buffalo Pass Trailhead. And on the north, the closure follows Lost Ranger Trail west, the Continental Divide Trail south to Lost Ranger Peak west to The Dome and down the North Fork drainage.

To reach Bryce Martin, call 970-871-4206 or email

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