State wildfires continue to expand |

State wildfires continue to expand

Lance Maggart

As the first few days of August come and go thoughts are beginning to turn towards the fall, the start of the school year and, thankfully, a merciful end to the summer fire season.

The year has been a busy one for firefighters in the western U.S. with blazes raging in places all across the Great Plains and Rocky Mountain region. Colorado has seen more than its fair share of wildfires this summer with the Cold Springs Fire and Beaver Creek Fire making headlines throughout the nation.

Beaver Creek Fire

The Beaver Creek Fire in north central Colorado is still burning. As of Monday morning August 1 the Beaver Creek Fire has expanded to 33,193. Perimeter containment on the Beaver Creek Fire stands at 12 percent. The expected containment date for the fire is still listed as Oct. 21.

Suppression efforts on the Beaver Creek Fire continue with 262 personnel actively engaged. The primary fuel source for much of the Beaver Creek Fire, beetle kill timber, continues to pose a hazard for firefighters working on the Beaver Creek blaze while complicating containment and suppression efforts.

Updates to the Federal Government’s Incident Information Service, InciWeb, states, “The infested trees are subject to blowing over contributing large amounts of down timber and providing fuel for extreme fire behavior when strong winds and terrain features are in alignment, making the timbered areas unsafe for firefighters.” Firefighters are focusing much of their efforts on areas outside the dangerous timber.

Officials working on the Beaver Creek Fire believe the fire behavior will increase over the coming days while the fire’s perimeter expands. Warm dry conditions are forecasted for the area along with windy conditions. The Beaver Creek Fire was first detected on June 19. Authorities do not know what specifically started the blaze though InciWeb states U.S. Forest Service investigators are looking into the possibility the Beaver Creek Fire was possibly human caused.

Hayden Pass Fire

The Hayden Pass Fire, burning just south of Coaldale Colorado and the Arkansas River valley, also continues to expand. The fire has grown to encompass 16,559-acres while containment stands at 60 percent. As of Monday morning a total of 81 personnel were assigned to the Hayden Pass fire.

Firefighters battling the Hayden Pass blaze are expected to get a bit of a reprieve over the coming days as monsoon moisture is forecasted for the area, which could potentially created runoff problems in burned areas. Officials expect to continue mop up/suppression efforts while monitoring fire progression in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.

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