Church Park Fire continues to burn despite snow | SkyHiNews.com

Church Park Fire continues to burn despite snow

Reid Armstrong
Sky-Hi News
Grand County, CO Colorado

FRASER – Despite a week of wet weather and snow, the Church Park Fire continues to burn south of Sheep Mountain, 5 miles west of here on National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands.

The fire burned approximately 473 acres and was 100 percent contained as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 7.

Sulphur Ranger District Level 4 incident commander Deana Harms has assumed command of the fire.

She said that the interior of the fire is still burning and will continue to burn, “until we get a lot more snow.”

While the moisture has helped in certain areas, Harms said it doesn’t take much to ignite pockets of green within the burn units. The fire continues to burn underground until warmer drier conditions bring it to the surface.

Sunday afternoon, Oct. 10, a period of sunny dry weather was enough to cause the fire to flare up for about an hour.

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“It was nothing big,” she added. While firefighters are not working to extinguish flare-ups, they are keeping a close eye on them and working to maintain the perimeter.

Firefighter and public safety are the agency’s primary concerns now.

“The beetle epidemic already weakened the trees,” Harms said. “Add fire, moisture and, eventually wind and those snags are going to start coming down.”

For this reason, the U.S. Forest Service is urging the public to stay out of the area and to follow all posted closures.

The Sulphur Ranger District of the Arapaho National Forest has temporarily closed the area of the Church Park Fire and portions of two roads that are within, near or access the fire area. This closure was put in place to assist firefighters and provide for visitor safety.

The closure prohibits operating vehicles on the Crooked Creek Road (NFSR 139) from its entry on the Arapaho National Forest boundary to its junction with NFSR 133 west of the fire; and operating a vehicle on the Rocky Point Road (NFSR 880.1) entering the area of the Church’s Park Fire.

The closure will remain in place while firefighters continue to monitor the fire, patrol for spot fires and remove hazardous trees along the fire perimeter and roads until there is adequate snow. There are a significant number of hazardous trees along the roadway that pose a safety hazard to the public.

– Reid Armstrong can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19610 or rarmstrong@skyhidailynews.com.

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