Firefighters fully contain Gore Ridge Fire |

Firefighters fully contain Gore Ridge Fire

A firefighter works to clear downed tress and other debris from the Gore Ridge Fire burn scar over the weekend. The fire was sparked Tuesday afternoon Sept. 13 and was brought to full containment on Friday Sept. 16.
Joe Russ / Courtesy photo |

The Gore Ridge Fire has been fully contained with no structures damaged and no injuries reported.

An update provided by the Grand County Office of Emergency Management at 9:44 a.m. on Friday Sept. 16 explains local firefighters brought the smoldering high country blaze to 100 percent containment Friday morning. The update goes on to state, “Mountain Parks Electric has reenergized the power lines into the Gorewood Estates Subdivision and residents have been allowed to return to their properties.”

Officials are still actively investigating the cause of the Gore Ridge Fire but early reports indicated the fire was the result of a slash pile burn that got out of control. Residents of the Gorewood Estates subdivision, and anyone else who might be in the burn area, are cautioned to, “be aware of hazard trees that could blow down.”

Fire crews monitored the burn area throughout the weekend and continued to patrol the burn area. Since Friday local fire authorities have called the fire officially “controlled”, though they don’t expect to declare the fire “out” for approximately one additional week.

“We had crews out patrolling through the weekend. There are still a few hot spots in the middle, but we think things are pretty good.” Grand Fire Assistant Chief Brad White

Grand Fire Protection District (GFPD) Assistant Fire Chief Brad White explained authorities do not want to declare the fire “out” because of the potential for late flare ups from a few hot spots still in the burn area. “We had crews out patrolling through the weekend,” White said. “There are still a few hot spots in the middle, but we think things are pretty good.”

Several aerial firefighting assets were brought in to battle the Gore Ridge Fire from the air. On Tuesday afternoon when the fire first broke out five separate aerial assets, including three fix-wing aircraft and two helicopters, dropped multiple loads of both flame retardant and water.

The three fix-wing aircraft dropped 5,700 gallons of retardant. Included in those figures is a single heavy air-tanker that dropped one load of retardant over three separate locations on the fire.

A pair of helicopters was also used to fight the Gore Ridge Fire. One was a Type 1 twin rotor helicopter that was brought down from the Beaver Creek Fire in Jackson County for action on the first day only. The other helicopter was a single rotor aircraft that remained on the fire for multiple days. Between the two helicopters a total of 19,600 gallons of water were dropped on the Gore Ridge Fire.

Grand Fire Assistant Chief Brad White explained the availability of large aerial resources, like the twin-rotor helicopter and the heavy air-tanker, can be a bit of a Catch 22. The resources are very helpful to local firefighters but their availability typically requires close proximity to other large wildfires, like the Beaver Creek Fire.

The total cost of the Gore Ridge Fire is still being calculated but initial estimates put the price tag at around $200,000. Local fire officials expect many of the costs to be covered under mutual aid agreements. Local authorities have also applied to various state funding sources to cover costs. Assistant Chief White said a full and officially cost figure for the County won’t be available for several months but stated, “I believe this to be an accurate picture of the gross costs to fight the fire.”

Aviation resources used to battle the blaze totaled around $95,000 while the State and Federal Handcrews, the Craig Hot Shots and the Colorado Juniper Valley Crew, carried a price tag of $45,000. Engines and crews from local and federal fire agencies that worked the blaze throughout the incident tallied a cost of roughly $25,000. According to White officials are still tallying employee time for the Grand County Sheriff’s Office (GCSO), County Road and Bridge, County EMS and other agencies.

The Gore Ridge Fire, also referred to as the Gorewood Fire, initially kicked off on Tuesday Sept. 13 around mid-day. The fire burned through heavily timbered forestland, ironically located just a short distance outside of the Kremmling Fire Protection District’s boundaries, on the far eastern flank of the Gore Range slightly north of the Gore Canyon. The fire’s main burn area was in and around the Gorewood Estates subdivision, a mountainside housing development west of Kremmling proper accessed through the Grand River Ranch.

Fire crews that battled the blaze were forced to contend with thick stands of beetle kill pine, which posed a significant blow over hazard to firefighters, and steep mountain slopes with circuitous winding roads providing access. The fire burned precariously close to several homes in the region with the main burn area smoldering just a few hundred yards away from a large hillside residence that was seriously threatened by the fire.

Grand County Sheriff’s Deputies evacuated residents of the Gorewood Estates subdivision, and those living within a roughly one-mile radius around the burn area, Tuesday afternoon as the suppression efforts got under way. Evacuation orders for those impacted by the fire remained in effect until Friday, Sept. 16.

Multiple local, state and federal agencies responded to the fire and provided assistance. Working on the Gore Ridge Fire were: the Kremmling Fire Protection District, the GFPD, the Hot Sulphur Springs/Parshall Fire Protection District, the Grand Lake Fire Protection District, the GCSO, the Grand County Office of Emergency Management, Grand County EMS, Kremmling Police, the US Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (CDFPC), the Craig Hotshots crew and the Juniper Valley Hotshots crew. Also assisting were multiple aerial resources including a reconnaissance focused Multi-Mission Aircraft (MMA) operated by the CDFPC.

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