Gutzler Fire nears its end as crews on scene are reduced

The Gutzler Fire, never having reached Grand County, is nearing its end. Crews fighting the blaze are being relocated to higher priority fires elsewhere in the state.
Courtesy Photo |

While nearly 1,000 acres of Eagle County continue to burn, fire officials believe that the Gutzler Fire, having stalled over the weekend and encountered moisture over the last couple days, is nearing its end.

“Certainly it’s not out, but we feel that it is manageable at this point,” said Angela Goldman, public information officer for the fire. “The firefighters on the ground are not going to walk away from it until they are confident that spread is not likely.”

The fire, which is located about 14 miles southwest of Kremmling in Eagle County, was started by lightning on July 2, and quickly escalated to 947 acres by the end of the week. Over the weekend, firefighters, aided by precipitation, were able to halt the growth of the flames.

The Type Three Incident Management Team working the fire is being replaced by a smaller management team as fire departments begin to move their resources to higher priority fires around western Colorado. There are currently 27 fire personnel assigned to the Gutzler fire, down from 108 earlier this week.

“Anytime you’re dealing with a fire you have a bunch of logistics that comes to support the firefighters,” said Goldman. “Given that we have downgraded to just a handful of folks, we don’t need the same management team to support those firefighters.”

Fire personnel will continue to monitor the fire’s perimeter and improve the containment lines. Once they are confident the fire is not at risk of spreading, the U.S. Forest Service will monitor the fire until it is completely out.

Goldman said that while it is possible the chances of the fire spreading at this point are very slim, but that fire personnel are prepared to deal with it if it does. “If anything should happen where this fire rekindles or we see some increased activity, obviously we’re going to start putting people right back on it and ramp it right back up.”

The Bureau of Land Management announced that they will reopen the Radium Boat Ramp and campground on Thursday. Forest Road 402 will remain closed indefinitely for fire operations.

Stage 1 fire restrictions also remain in place for White River National Forest, Bureau of Land Management public lands, and Eagle, Summit, Rio Blanco, Mesa, Garfield and Pitkin counties.

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