Updated: Gore Ridge Fire expands | SkyHiNews.com

Updated: Gore Ridge Fire expands

Lance Maggart lmaggart@skyhidailynews.com

Firefighting crews are still in the thick of things Wednesday morning, Sept. 14, battling the Gore Ridge Fire west of Kremmling. Fire activity was low as of Wednesday morning with the no visible open flames and the fire only smoldering with smoke and ash. Fire officials are optimistic about the ongoing situation but remain extremely cautious. Officials remain concerned about the potential for increased winds today, which could spread the fire.

County and State fire officials held a community meeting Wednesday morning at 11 a.m. to update the public on the ongoing suppression efforts.

As of early Wednesday morning containment on the fire stands at 35 percent. The fire had grown to a size of approximately eight-and-a-half-acres as of 11 a.m. Wednesday morning. Fire crews have been conducting back burns in the area. Back burns are firefighter initiated controlled burns that are intended to create firebreaks between the existing fire and additional fuel sources.

No additional evacuations have been ordered but the 12 houses that were evacuated on Tuesday Sept. 13, the Gorewood Estates subdivision and other residences located in a roughly one-mile circle around the fire, remain threatened. Grand County Road 14 and County Road 14 South remain closed.

Residents have not been allowed to return home permanently. Officials did allow some residents who were evacuated to return home briefly with official escorts to retrieve essential items such as medication or identification but the evacuation orders remain in effect.

Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin, who is acting as incident commander for the Gore Ridge Fire, said, “We are leaving the minimal evacuations in place. We want to keep them out until we can get the firefighters in there to assess. But we don’t anticipate it to be long term.”

As of Wednesday morning no structures have been lost and no injuries have been reported. A total of nine agencies have responded to the fire with a total of 71 personnel working the incident. Assisting local firefighting agencies are the Craig Hotshot Crew and the Juniper Valley Hand Crew, which arrived on scene today, Sept. 14. A pair of helicopters also remain on scene assisting from the air.

“Through those nine agencies we have had pretty good success making strides on this fire,” Sheriff Schroetlin said.

Sam Parsons, with the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control provided information from the State’s Multi-Mission Aircraft (MMA) that is used for aerial reconnaissance. Parsons showed video from MMA over flights that were conducted Wednesday morning, showing hotspots and the central smoldering portion of the fire.

Power has not been returned to the area as officials want to allow Mountain Parks Electric to assess the state of any power lines in the area before electrical service is switched back on.

The Gore Ridge Fire is burning in heavy timber, much of it beetle killed pine, which poses a significant blow-over hazard to firefighters. As such the Gore Ridge Fire is being fought primarily through indirect means.

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