Silver Creek Fire explodes to over 3,000 acres
With the Silver Creek Fire raging just a few miles away from their homes, residents of Old Park remained under pre-evacuation status late Tuesday afternoon.
Dozens of sheriff’s deputies and other emergency personnel were staged in the area throughout the day Tuesday in anticipation of evacuation orders, which would be prompted by continued fire growth toward the sparsely developed area west of Wolford Mountain Reservoir. Tuesday’s pre-evacuation status for Old Park followed the evacuation of Latigo Ranch on Monday after the Silver Creek Fire expanded south and threatened the popular ranch.
The fire has now grown to over 3,000 acres, according to Inciweb, an all-risk incident web information management system provided by the United States Forest Service. Officials have decreased the level of containment to 5 percent from the 13 percent that was reported Monday.
Winds at the scene are actually helping crews with fighting the blaze as they have shifted to blow to the north, into the fire, no longer pushing the fire closer to structures.
On Monday evening, local fire officials began notifying residents of the unincorporated community of Old Park, which contains about 200 homes, that the area was being placed on pre-evacuation notice. A community meeting was held Monday night at Kremmling Fire’s Old Park fire station just off Highway 134 that featured emergency personnel reviewing the procedures local residents should take in anticipation of evacuation orders.
Officials are also stationed in the town of Kremmling in preparation for any evacuation orders.
Another community meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Old Park Fire Station, where Grand County and Silver Creek fire personnel will provide further updates on the fire.
An air quality health advisory was issued by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Tuesday for large portions of Western Colorado due to the fires burning in and around the state.
The advisory is in effect until Wednesday morning and covers 22 counties, including Grand County, as well as Hot Sulphur Springs, which was noted as a point of interest due to its proximity to the Silver Creek Fire.
The recent increase in the Silver Creek Fire activity, caused by hot, dry and windy conditions, is contributing to the poor air quality. Officials warned the increase in fire and firefighting activity “is likely to increase smoke production and increase ambient haze and smoke throughout western portions of the state.”
Health officials advise staying indoors if heavy smoke is in the area, especially for children, the elderly and those with heart disease or respiratory illnesses. If visibility is less than five miles, the air quality is considered unhealthy.
Around 110 fires are currently burning across the country, with 12 in Colorado alone, according to Inciweb. The Silver Creek Fire and the Sugarloaf Fire are currently burning in Grand County.
Sky-Hi News Reporter McKenna Harford contributed to this report.
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