Wildfires burning throughout Colo.
Colorado is burning.
There are four wildfires currently burning in Colorado, covering an actively burning area of nearly 25,000 acres. The largest of the Colorado’s currently burning wildfires is the Beaver Creek Fire located not far from Granby, just a few short miles north of Walden in North Park.
The Beaver Creek Fire continues to expand in size. The fire was slightly larger than 13,000 acres last Thursday and has since expanded. The Federal Government’s Incident Information System web site, InciWeb, states the fire has grown to 18,787 acres as of Monday morning. The estimated containment date for the Beaver Creek Fire has also been pushed back from Oct. 15 to Oct. 21.
According to InciWeb, “the fire is burning in heavy beetle killed timber. The infested trees are subject to blowing over with large amounts of down timber, making the forest unsafe for firefighters.” Fire containment currently stands at roughly five percent.
Because of the inherent risk of fighting fires in forest filled with dead trees the fire’s Incident Management Team is, “allowing the natural process of the fire to occur while focusing their resources on the values at risk. This suppression strategy provides for both firefighter safety and the protection of life and property.” There are currently 175 personal battling the Beaver Creek blaze.
The past week offered a slight reprieve on the Beaver Creek Fire with recent rains reducing the fires intensity slightly. Active fire still exists along the perimeter and continues to consume unburned areas within the interior perimeter of the fire. Officials expect hotter and drier conditions to return to the fire area over the coming days, leading to increased fire activity. “High winds and low relative humidity will continue to promote wildfire growth, especially along the north, east and west flanks.” InciWeb states.
Authorities have not yet determined a cause for the Beaver Creek Fire and investigations are ongoing. The fire originated at a point approximately 24 miles northwest of Walden at roughly noon on Sunday June 19.
Just slightly east of Grand County, over the Continental Divide, is the Cold Springs Fire, located a short ways north of Nederland in Boulder County. The fire started at approximately 1:30 p.m. Saturday July 9. The fire has expanded to roughly 606 acres as of Monday afternoon. According to the Boulder Office of Emergency Management nearly 2,000 residents of the area were already evacuated by late Sunday afternoon.
The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office arrested two Alabama men, Jimmy Andrew Suggs, 28 and Zackary Ryan Kuykendall, 26, at the Nederland High School evacuation site for their role in starting the Cold Springs Fire.
There are currently 468 personal battling the Cold Springs Fire. Incident updates provided by InciWeb Monday afternoon stated, “significant afternoon fire runs have pushed the fire over yesterday’s retardant lines, putting additional subdivisions in immediate danger. Crowing, torching and spotting are common.”
Firefighters established a new fire perimeter but the effort has stretched ground resources in the area. The fire has already spread over roads previously used as escape routes. “Predictions for fire growth indicate the potential for significant structure and infrastructure loss, along with closures of two adjacent state highway,” states InciWeb.
The second largest wildfire currently burning in Colorado is the 5,100-acre Hayden Pass Fire located in southern Colorado approximately five miles southwest of Coaldale. The fire started in the San Isabel National Forest and has progressed into the Rio Grande National Forest while primarily burning in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.
The Hayden Pass Fire started on Thursday July 7. A small number of evacuations have been ordered and subdivisions of Coaldale are on pre-evacuation orders. The conflagration is burning through a mixed conifer forest with large amounts of dead and down fuels as the fire moves north and northwest. The cause of the Hayden Pass Fire is unknown at this time.
Read, Local firefighters return from Beaver Creek, from July 5.
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