Muddy Slide Fire in South Routt holding at over 4K acres; expected to be ‘long duration fire’ |

Muddy Slide Fire in South Routt holding at over 4K acres; expected to be ‘long duration fire’

At a glance

What: Muddy Slide Fire

When: Currently active; ignited Sunday, June 20

Where: Wildfire burning east of the town of Yampa in South Routt County. Estimated at 4,150 acres as of 8 p.m. June 25.

More: Mandatory evacuation in place for residents on Routt County Road 16 between mile markers 12 and 21.

Cause: Unknown at this point; remains under investigation

2 p.m. Minimal fire behavior is expected Friday due to rain and cold fronts across the Yampa Valley, according to Beau Kidd, U.S. Forest Service operations section chief.

The weather has given the crews an opportunity to “start making some progress” on the fire, Kidd said.

Plans are to start at the southwest corner of the fire, which was secured Thursday with aircraft and ground crews, then move to the northwest corner. Firefighters plan to enter the trail system then pull away from the fire’s edge and use the trails as a control feature, which will then put the fire back into the control line, Kidd said.

1:40 p.m. A thunderstorm is currently moving over South Routt, with heavy rainfall reported in Yampa and lightning visible to the west side of the fire.

10 a.m. Fire crews will continue securing fire lines Friday and will scout for opportunities to safely engage the fire where there is the highest probability for success.

The structure group is developing a detailed structure protection plan that considers how the fire could behave in the coming weeks.

9 a.m. The Muddy Slide Fire area on Thursday received about 0.2 inches of rain, which temporarily reduced fire behavior. Firefighters took advantage of this brief reprieve to safely build fire lines closer to the edge of the fire.

The blaze is expected to be a “long duration” fire due to a variety of factors. Over the past two days, fire managers have been able to fully evaluate fire behavior, moisture level of vegetation and difficult terrain. The vegetation, or fuels, are exceptionally dry and are already very receptive to carrying fire, and while the cooler weather and moisture help in the short-term, the weather is forecast to turn warm and dry once again.

The fire’s arbitrary date of containment was updated from July 7 to July 30, but that could still vary wildly based upon weather and other factors.

Below: An interactive map of evacuations due to the Muddy Slide Fire.

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