Latigo Ranch, Yost Ranch evacuated after Silver Creek Fire grows 2,000 acres
At a community briefing at the Old Park fire station Thursday night, fire officials announced that Latigo Ranch and Yost Ranch have been evacuated and other neighborhoods remain on pre-evacuation after an increase in the Silver Creek Fire activity began yesterday.
As of right now the neighborhoods on pre-evacuation are Old Park, Gore Lakes, Rabbit Ears Village, Bear Mountain Ranch and the Lake Agnes area. Most of the fire growth has occurred on the north and northeast sides of the fire, but some hot spots have jumped across southern containment lines, including onto Latigo Ranch property.
No structure loss or damage has occurred.
Type 3 incident commander Eric Stahlin said the fire spotted across Red Dirt Reservoir, which had previously been contained with dozerline and the area had undergone mitigation efforts.
“One thing that’s really crazy with this extreme fire behavior that we’re seeing is that we’re seeing this fire propagate by the spot fires that’s throwing out in front of it,” Stahlin said. “We’re seeing spot fires as far as three-quarters of a mile.”
The fire was last mapped at 7,250 acres Stahlin said. There is no longer a containment level available on InciWeb and Stahlin said that crews were in heavy firefighting mode.
“The guys down in the southern division here were in a serious firefight at the Latigo Ranch and we were and still have been successful at saving structures,” Stahlin said.
The Rocky Mountain Type 2 Blue Team has been placed back on the Silver Creek Fire and will take over Friday. Governor John Hickenlooper also signed an executive order for more financial support after the fire crossed off Forest Service land and onto the Milk Creek State Trust.
Grand County EMS Chief Ray Jennings said that structures remain a top priority, but other assets include the cattle in the area and Highway 40.
Increased wind activity coupled with low humidity and warmer, drier conditions caused the flare up on Wednesday that continued into the following days. Unfortunately, the same weather conditions are predicted to continue for the next week.
Jennings said the only way the fire will be fully contained is when snow falls.
The type of burn in the area, known as a dirty burn, which means the flames do not burn everything in the area, leaving fuels available, coupled with the amount of fuels in the wilderness have also contributed to the growth of the fire.
“The thing that’s making this different now is that typically the aspen stands don’t burn, but we are seeing them burn,” Stahlin said. “We are employing all these resources (…) so we can continue to try and gain ground in a very, very difficult situation with the weather and such.”
Currently about 150 to 180 people are assigned to the fire including the Alpine Hot Shot team, but that is expected to increase with the change of command. Air resources have also been heavily utilized to soak hot spots and try to contain edges.
So far, the cost of fighting this fire is upwards of $15 to 16 million.
Grand County is back on Stage One fire restrictions and the area from Highway 134 to the county line and from Highway 40 west to the county line is in Stage Three fire restrictions.
The Bureau of Land Management office in Kremmling closed their lands in the surrounding area, west of Highway 40 and north of Highway 134. An evacuation notice was issued for the area from Forest Service Road 100 to a few miles west of Highway 40, as well.
Jennings said most of the pre-evacuation orders were put in place to keep residents of the areas vigilant and that more will be known about the next steps when the new team takes over.
Another community meeting will take place at the Old Park fire station at 7 p.m. tomorrow night.
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