Friday Fire updates: Grizzly Creek blaze burns over Hanging Lake, now bigger than Lake Christine Fire of 2018

Post Independent staff report

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — The Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon made a major run late Thursday night, more than doubling in size to 14,663 acres with new areas of fire spread on the east and northeast sides of the canyon.

White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams confirmed in a Friday morning press conference that the fire has burned in the area of Hanging Lake, the popular visitor attraction that now operates on a permit system.

“Right now we don’t know the disposition of Hanging Lake,” Fitzwilliams said in the press conference also attended by Gov. Jared Polis. “We know there was fire around it. We hope to get up and take a look at it today, and as soon as we find out we will let you know.”

By comparison in terms of fire size, the Grizzly Creek Fire is now more than 2,000 acres larger than the 2018 Lake Christine Fire on Basalt Mountain, which burned 12,588 acres.

Gov. Polis said reopening Interstate 70 would not happen before the weekend.

“The best realistic case would be two to three days,” Polis said. “But it’s really a question of when it’s no longer right on the highway.”

According to the latest morning update from incident command in Gypsum, “operations staff flew the fire late yesterday afternoon to access the northern area of the fire where the fire was the most active. The terrain and fuels in the northeast portion of the fire made access difficult for firefighters north of Interstate 70. The fire pushed east and went into Bair Ranch where evacuations were made.”

New maps show the most recent fire progression Thursday night into Friday morning.

From the Grizzly Creek Fire Incident Command.

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