Crews make significant progress on Sylvan Fire despite containment remaining at zero |

Crews make significant progress on Sylvan Fire despite containment remaining at zero

Moisture is giving firefighters extra time, but won’t extinguish blaze that’s torched 3,775 acres

Nate Peterson, Pam Boyd and Ali Longwell
Vail Daily

The Sylvan Fire burning on 3,775 acres — nearly 6 square miles — south of Eagle remains at a containment percentage of zero as of 9 a.m. Saturday morning, June 26, but that doesn’t mean firefighters aren’t making considerable progress.

The fire has been classified the top priority incident in the Rocky Mountain Region as incident commanders hope additional resources will be deployed to the blaze in the days ahead.

During a Facebook community meeting Friday, June 25, Rob Powell, the operations section chief for the fire, noted that the resources at risk — an Xcel Energy transmission line and the Eagle and Gypsum watersheds — earned the priority designation. And with that title, he said additional resources should be headed to the fight. But with a fiery summer already started, Western resources are starting to thin.

“We need more Hot Shot crews. This is a fire that doesn’t have good engine access,” Powell said. “The rain has bought us some time, but the fire is not out.”

Personnel on the fire Saturday morning numbered 264. As more help arrives, firefighters battling the blaze have gotten an assist from Mother Nature since Thursday with a good bit of rain. An additional 0.1 inch to 0.15 inch of rain fell on the fire Friday, moderating fire behavior and allowing crews to accomplish significant fireline construction.

A section of fireline is not called contained until fire supervisors are confident the fire will not cross it. More work needs to be done to fully secure and monitor the lines, but the Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team managing the fire expects containment to start increasing in the coming days, according to a Saturday morning update.

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