Crews prepare for more growth after night of evacuations due to East Troublesome Fire
2:30 p.m. update: The northeast finger of the East Troublesome Fire is about 3 miles from Highway 125 with winds continuing to push it east.
During a Facebook live update from the fire’s response team, Grand County Manager Kate McIntire said that visitors along the US Highway 34 corridor should consider leaving the area, though no one in that area is currently under evacuation orders.
“It is a probably a good idea to leave the area,” she said. “I don’t want to cause alarm … but because there is a limited way out of Grand Lake, as far as second homeowners and people visiting area, if we had to do any further evacuations, we’re not clogging up roadways.”
Trail Ridge Road is currently closed due to weather, leaving just the southern exit along US Highway 34 for any potential evacuations in the area.
Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin added that with the extensive public lands closures, visitors likely won’t enjoy a stay in Grand right now. However, this is just a recommendation and the choice remains up to the visitors.
In the update, many questions revolved around the potential spread of the fire to surrounding communities and evacuation plans should that happen. Schroetlin emphasized that evacuations are constantly being evaluated as weather and fire conditions change.
“We really believe in stay one, two, three, ten steps ahead of this as things move forward,” he said. “We live in wildfire country so be ready at any time.”
One major focus point for crews is on the southwestern edge of the fire where they are trying to establish an anchor point. Firefighters want to avoid the more southern part of the fire from “hooking” back to that western edge and creating a dangerous situation.
Firefighters are also working to build the line across the southern part of the fire before taking on the southeastern “head,” while resources to the north and east are patrolling structures.
Today’s cloud coverage has helped to slow the fire, but 20 mph winds from the west are expected to keep up for the next several days. The heavy smoke has also been a major issue during operations.
The Big Horn Park subdivision remains under evacuation orders, which Schroetlin said would like continue through at least Sunday morning though it would be reevaluated as needed. For evacuees in need of a place to stay, contact the evacuation center at the Inn at Silvercreek.
Watch the entire update below:
Original: The East Troublesome Fire is burning eastward with multiple evacuations orders in place and other neighborhoods on pre-evacuation notice.
As of 11:40 p.m. Friday, the fire size was 11,329 acres with 152 personnel working on the fire. A red flag warning is in effect through 6 p.m. today with 25 mph sustained winds and up to 45 mph gusts.
The fire is spreading up to a half mile per hour east toward Highway 125, possibly reaching the highway by this evening. Highway 125 is closed from mile post 0 to 27 due to heavy smoke and its proximity to the fire. There is no estimated time for reopening.
In a morning update, fire officials said they are working on the west side of the blaze to establish an anchor point. On Friday, crews were able to work on a dozer line south of the fire, utilizing the road system and retardant as well.
The fire’s spread continues east, which is where most of the smoke and heat of the fire is coming from. Friday night saw a lot of movement on the southeast and northeast side and today crews are expecting the northeast and southeast “fingers” of the fire to rap out and spread toward the 125 corridor.
“On the 125 corridor, we will have resources out there, patrolling and assessing structures,” the fire official said.
Heavy smoke made it hard to have an air attack on Friday, but crews are also in the northern area of the fire doing structure assessment. They plan to do the same on the west side today.
Evacuations have been ordered for both sides of Highway 125 from mile post 5 to the Grand/Jackson County line along with the Kinney Creek and Sheriff’s Creek areas. Evacuation orders remain in effect for the northern part of County Road 21 and the Big Horn Park subdivision.
Other areas to the west of US Highway 34 are under pre-evacuation orders. The town limits of Granby and Hot Sulphur Springs are not under any pre-evacuation or evacuation orders.
“I recognize that this fire behavior is concerning many of you, especially with the massive amount of smoke and visible flames on the hillsides,” Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said in a Facebook post. “We have plans in place, defined action points for pre-evacuation and evacuation needs, and are making the very best decisions for our community.”
Evacuees and those who have chosen to evacuate early are asked to register using the East Troublesome Fire Evacuee(s) Registration Form to assist with the re-entry process.
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