Firefighters make progress on western blazes
August 23, 2016
August is nearly over and big game hunting is right around the corner but this year's wildfire season is still blazing with conflagrations burning throughout the western US and across portions of Colorado.
Most of the wildfires that have affected Colorado this summer have been fully suppressed or more or less brought under control, including the Cold Springs Fire that threatened Nederland and the Hayden Pass Fire burning near Coaldale, but there are a few uncontrolled wildfires still burning up the Rocky Mountain State.
The Beaver Creek Fire north of Grand County in Jackson County is still burning. The fire has expanded to 37,170-acres as of Tuesday afternoon August 23. Containment on the Beaver Creek Fire stands at 53 percent with a total of 30 personnel actively battling the blaze.
The fire was sparked just a short distance north of Walden in North Park not far from the Colorado/Wyoming border. Since the initial detection of the fire on June 19 fire officials have worked to contain the conflagration as flames spread through heavily timbered forests of beetle-killed lodgepole pines.
The beetle-kill pine poses a significant risk to firefighters because the relatively weak trunks make them susceptible to being blown over at any time. The downed trees also create additional fuel piles, contributing to extreme fire behavior.
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As a result officials have focused much of their effort on the Beaver Creek Fire on establishing fire lines in less heavily timbered areas. The official estimated containment date for the fire is Oct. 21. Over the past several weeks the fire has burned numerous structures including one cabin, eight outbuildings and three historic outbuildings.
Officials do not know the exact cause of the fire but the US Forest Service is investigating the fire as possibly human caused. Local firefighting assets from the Grand Lake Fire Protection District and the Grand Fire Protection District provided assistance on the Beaver Creek Fire shortly after the initial fire outbreak.
Firefighters from Grand Lake and Granby also assisted regional firefighting assets on the Lava Mountain Fire in west central Wyoming in late July and early August. The Lava Mountain Fire was nearly fully contained, at 95 percent, as of the last fire update provided by the Federal Government's Incident Information System InciWeb filed on Monday morning August 15.
The Lava Mountain Fire has so far consumed 14,644-acres in the Shoshone National Forest just south of US Highway 287 between Dubois and Moran Wyo. Firefighters continue to mop up and secure containment lines on the fire while working to repair damage from suppression efforts. Officials expect little perimeter growth from the Lava Mountain Fire.
The Silver Creek Fire was first detected on Saturday August 20. The fire is burning in the swath of forest land located between Wolford Mountain Reservoir to the east, Phippsburg to the west, Rabbit Ears Pass to the north and US Highway 134 to the south. The fire grew by about two-acres Monday August 22. So far the fire has burned approximately 10-acres within the Routt National Forest in the Sarvis Creek Wilderness.
A total of 45 personnel have been assigned to the Silver Creek blaze as of Tuesday morning August 23 while press releases from the US Forest Service state containment stands at zero percent. Firefighter activity is focused on structure assessment, developing contingency plans and identifying areas where fire lines and fuel breaks can be built to protect structures. The Silver Creek Fire is burning primarily in live and dead lodgepole pine stands.
SPRING CREEK 2
The Spring Creek 2 Fire is a relatively small fire burning just a short distance south west of I-70 between Parachute and De Beque. The Spring Creek 2 Fire was discovered on private property in Garfield County on Friday August 12. So far the fire has burned 621-acres but despite is comparatively diminutive size to other major wildfires this summer the Spring Creek 2 blaze has done significant damage to private property.
According to InciWeb, "The Spring Creek 2 Fire moved rapidly into Mesa County narrowly missing homes in its path. Fire crews were able to save multiple primary residents but four out building, three trailers and three vehicles were destroyed."
Containment on the Spring Creek 2 Fire stands at 100 percent. There are a total of six personnel still assigned to the fire according to InciWeb.