Pre-evacuation notice lifted as rain dampens Williams Fork Fire |

Pre-evacuation notice lifted as rain dampens Williams Fork Fire

Sky-Hi News staff report
Crews work to clear fuel earlier this week near the Williams Fork Fire.
Courtesy Kari Greer

Grand County’s sheriff lifted pre-evacuation notice for the neighborhoods referred to as “Area 2” on evacuation planning maps Friday.

The areas no longer under pre-evacuation include Aspen Canyon, Morgan Gulch and Henderson areas. The sheriff’s office also opened County Road 3, known as Ute Pass, from Highway 40 near Parshall to Highway 9 in Summit County.

County Road 30 remains closed and the Forest Service closure area around the Williams Fork Fire is still in place.

The fire grew just 31 acres Friday to 12,079 acres total. Containment remains at 5%.

Officials expect the fire to remain fairly calm Saturday as a passing cold front moves through. High humidity and cooler temperatures will help firefighters suppress the fire as they take advantage of the favorable conditions.

Parts of the fire received sufficient rain. As of 4 p.m. Friday, officials said Keyser Ridge received 0.17 inches of rain, while north of the fire near Beaver RAWS received 0.33 inches. Wind gusts out of the southwest reached 32 mph over the fire and 36 mph in Granby with the Williams Fork incident command post experiencing pea-sized hail.

However, this rain could create muddy conditions for heavy machinery moving on slick mountain roads.

Crews are working with heavy equipment along St. Louis Creek Road (FS 160) to thin live and dead timber to keep the fire from moving through the valley. It is expected to take several days to finish. Once complete, this work will protect the area east of the St. Louis Creek drainage and give firefighters a location to contain the fire if necessary.

A combination of bulldozer, masticators and hand crews continue work on a fire line south of Tabernash and Fraser.

Along the west and southwest sections of the fire, firefighters are working to secure the fire line. Once complete, they will consider the area from Henderson Mill to south Darling Creek as contained.

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