Fire will burn until snow flies |

Fire will burn until snow flies

Sky-Hi News Staff Report
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News
Byron Hetzler/Sky-Hi News | Sky-Hi News

The U.S. Forest Service says that the public can expect to see smoke and burning in the interior of the Church Park Fire until snow covers the ground.

The fire, which has burned some 530 acres, is located approximately five miles west of Fraser on the south side of Sheep Mountain and is burning on National Forest System and Bureau of Land Management lands.

A reverse 911 alert went out asking area residents to prepare for a possible evacuation earlier this week. The sheriff is waiting to lift the alerts until the fire has greater containment. The fire is now considered to be 40 percent contained.

Two helicopters are supporting ground forces that are constructing and reinforcing fireline and removing snags (dead trees) to secure the fireline today. No structures are immediately threatened and none were burned in the fire. The closest structures are approximately two miles away from the fire.

Safety due to terrain and falling trees continues to be a priority, according to incident commander Geoff Bell. The terrain is very steep and the dead trees pose a hazard to firefighters. There were two minor injuries on the fire Tuesday, but no work loss.

Weather is expected to continue to help firefighters today with cooler temperatures and higher humidity. Rain showers are possible.

Approximately 50 percent of the interior of the fire contains dead and standing beetle-killed lodgepole pine. This has caused an increase in burning intensity, but not an increase in the rate of fire spread. Due to the fire activity and safety concerns because of falling snags (dead trees), people are urged to stay out of this area and please follow all posted closures.

Xcel Energy and Mountain Park Electric (Tri-State) are evaluating transmission lines and gas lines for damage in the burn area.

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