Sylvan Fire in Eagle County nearly doubles in size to 2,630 acres |

Sylvan Fire in Eagle County nearly doubles in size to 2,630 acres

Pam Boyd and Scott Miller
Vail Daily
The Sylvan Fire burns southwest of Sylvan Lake State Park on Monday, June 21, near Eagle.
Photo by Chris Dillmann / Vail Daily

The Sylvan Fire burning 12 miles south of Eagle nearly doubled in size overnight Monday into Tuesday. The fire has grown to 2,630 acres — a little more than 4 square miles — since it ignited Sunday, June 20.

During a community briefing Monday, U.S. Forest Service Sylvan Fire management officer Justin Conrad said crews were working to contain the blaze on three sides and direct it toward Red Table Mountain, where vegetation to fuel the blaze is sparse.

“Currently, the fire is staying within the area we are intending it to stay in,” Conrad said.

According to David Boyd of the Forest Service, firefighters are making progress securing fire lines on the east and west sides of the fire. The fire is burning in timber on the White River National Forest about a half-mile from Sylvan Lake State Park. The cause is under investigation, but lightning is suspected.

During the Monday briefing, Conrad noted that the fire is not currently threatening any structures. That was a concern for down valley residents who watched the fire plume grow substantially Monday afternoon. Conrad said crews are trying to use natural barriers to direct the fire away from populated areas, and currently, the fire is burning in a remote area.

“Firefighters are struggling with access and accessibility right now,” Conrad said.

About 75 personnel are assigned to the fire along with helicopters. Firefighters have taken steps to protect structures at Sylvan Lake State Park. Other infrastructure at risk includes an Xcel Energy transmission cable.

The White River National Forest has issued a closure order for the area around the Sylvan Fire. Campers and others recreating in Sylvan Lake State Park and much of the surrounding lands have been evacuated.

Along with campers and others recreating at Sylvan Lake State Park, evacuations have included the Yeoman Park, Crooked Creek Pass dispersed camping, LEDE Reservoir and Hardscrabble areas.

As of Monday, the upper Frying Pan from the Dam to Hagerman Pass is under pre-evacuation notice due to the fire. An evacuation center is set up at the Basalt High School.

As firefighters travel to the area to help battle the Sylvan Fire, Eagle County Sheriff James van Beek stressed that it is vital to keep other traffic off roads including Crooked Creek Pass, Eagle-Thomasville Road and portions of Cottonwood Pass.

“We are asking everyone who has no reason to be up there to stay out of the area,” van Beek said at the Monday briefing.

He added that arrangements have been made for livestock owners to evacuate animals from the area to the Eagle County Fairgrounds.

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