New wildfire spreading quickly near Wyoming border
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Fire activity is picking up in the region with Saturday’s fire near Wolcott in Eagle County and a new fire, reported Sunday, near the Wyoming border.
Firefighters from Oak Creek and Yampa went to help with the Wolcott fire, which burned more than 400 acres. The local firefighters returned from the fire Monday. That fire was listed Sunday night as being 20-percent contained, and evacuations have been lifted.
Local fire officials said wildfire conditions in the Routt County area are not nearly as extreme as other parts of the state.
“We’re fairly good here right now,” Oak Creek Fire Protection District Chief Chuck Wisecup said. “We’re green.”
A new fire near the Wyoming border on the east side of the Continental Divide was reported Sunday. The Badger Creek Fire is burning northwest of Walden in the Medicine Bow National Forest.
“It’s a really bad place to have a fire,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos said.
Evacuations have been ordered. On Monday morning, 150 acres had burned, and strong winds were helping the fire grow quickly.
“It’s taking a really big run today,” Voos said on Monday.
The Badger Creek Fire is burning near where the Beaver Creek Fire burned in 2016. During that summer, smoke from the fire was very visible at times from Steamboat Springs.
The cause of the Badger Creek Fire is under investigation, and people can call the Forest Service at 307-745-2392 with information.
Voos said Forest Service firefighters are working at fires throughout the western United States.
“We were wishing that some of them (firefighters) were back here now,” Voos said.
Routt County Emergency Management Director David “Mo” DeMorat said he was unaware of any additional firefighters from the area going to help at other fires in the state.
DeMorat has been participating in daily conference calls with fire officials from the region.
“There is a lot of concern but no specific action recommended yet,” DeMorat said.
Other parts of Colorado have already instituted fire bans.
The Forest Service announced Monday it was closing the 1.8-million acre San Juan National Forest near Durango because of fire danger.
The 416 Fire burning in the San Juan Forest has burned more than 22,000 acres.
In Steamboat, some property owners have been taking wildfire precautions.
Where possible, Steamboat Resort is keeping its snowmaking lines charged with water in case they need to be used for fighting fires.
“The ski resort is always concerned about the potential for wildfires especially after a spring that we’ve had with so little moisture,” ski area spokeswoman Loryn Kasten said.
Steamboat meteorologist Mike Weissbluth expects moisture to move into the area later in the week.
“As might be imagined, there is a fair bit of uncertainty with the timing of these pieces, but right now, I would guess that we’ll see a 12-hour period that contains some good rains, probably around late Saturday or early Sunday, with afternoon showers increasing late in the work week and into the weekend as the remnants of Hurricane Bud near,” Weissbluth wrote Monday.
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