Crews use air support to fight spot fire at Williams Fork
With red flag conditions Friday, Williams Fork Fire crews focused on a large spot fire and a new start near Monarch Lake.
Williams Fork Fire has grown to 13,641 acres and is 25% contained. Friday’s work on the Upson Creek area spot fire aircraft drops of six SEAT loads, four Large Air Tanker loads and two Very Large Air Tanker loads of retardant around the area, officials explained in an update.
Meanwhile, a portion of the crew was diverted from Williams Fork to a new start near Monarch Lake in the Indian Peaks Wilderness area. That fire was quickly contained, but a cause has not been released.
Despite wind gusts up to 40 mph, the south “hook” of the Williams Fork Fire remained calm Friday due to some cloud cover. Crews worked to improve Forest Service Road 880.1 up to the boundary with YMCA-Snow Mountain Ranch to improve egress and provide a potential fire line for Pole Creek.
At Bottle Pass, the shaded fuel break is nearly complete. Work continues to reduce fuels around structures in the Fraser Experimental Forest and handline improvement work is underway near Young Life.
Conditions are expected to be more moderate Saturday, but long term weather outlook calls for continued extreme drought conditions with weather conducive to active fire behavior, including low humidity, windy conditions and warmer-than-normal temperatures.
The Williams Fork Fire is under command of a Type 3 team with 238 personnel. A Type 2 Northern Rockies Incident Management Team 6, which will provide more resources due to the unfavorable weather, is expected to take command of the fire Sunday.
The closure on road, trails and campgrounds in the Keyser Creek, Crooked Creek and St. Louis Creek areas remains in place and likely will last through at least the middle of next week.
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The US Forest Service has named an Arvada native to be acting regional forester for the Rocky Mountain Region.