Top 5 stories on, week of Aug. 16 |

Top 5 stories on, week of Aug. 16

Crews work on structure protection by setting up pumps Wednesday at Ute Park Ranch.
Courtesy Williams Fork Fire PIO

Editor’s note: Stories in this list received the most page views on for the past week.

1. Colorado wildfire update: Fires burning across the state

Wildfires continue to burn across Colorado, with four major fires — Pine Gulch, Grizzly Creek, Cameron Peak and Williams Fork — burning over 180,000 acres.

Crews on the Pine Gulch Fire, now the second largest fire in Colorado history, were dealing with dry lightning and gusty winds last week as they worked to contain the blaze. The Grizzly Creek Fire worked on building direct and indirect fire lines and strengthening existing containment lines.

Starting Monday, Aug. 24, and into the middle of next week, the monsoonal weather pattern that is more typical this time of year is expected to return.

— Summit Daily staff report

2. ‘Human caused’ Williams Fork Fire has burned over 6,300 acres

On Aug. 16, authorities with the U.S. Forest Service attributed the Williams Fork Fire burning in Grand County to humans.

In an update, the U.S. Forest Service listed the large wildfire as “human caused.” A spokesperson said over the phone that lightning had been ruled out, and while the exact cause remains under investigation, it is believed to be a result of human activity.

That revelation came with news that the Williams Fork Fire in southern Grand County had grown considerably. It is now at over 10,000 acres.

— Sky-Hi News

3. With ski resorts in limbo, town of Breckenridge plans for alternative outdoor winter activities

At a special meeting Aug. 19, Breckenridge Town Council discussed ideas for winter activities outside of skiing and snowboarding that guests can engage in this year.

As a town with a tourism-based economy, council members are concerned about potential capacity limits at Breckenridge Ski Resort, a major winter attraction. Mayor Eric Mamula said he hopes tourism can remain successful with some of the town’s ideas to add other activities.

“We need to concentrate on the things that we can do something about,” Mamula said. “People are still going to want to come here. … We need to make sure that we’re offering them every opportunity to come here and do some outdoor activities.”

— Taylor Sienkiewicz

4. Confrontation between off-roaders turns violent near Montezuma

Two men were issued summonses for misdemeanor assault after a confrontation broke out between off-roading parties early last week resulting in thrown punches and several individuals getting showered in bear spray.

At about 4:15 p.m. Aug. 9, deputies with the Summit County Sheriff’s Office responded to reports of an assault near Radical Hill, south of Montezuma in unincorporated Summit County. Once on scene, deputies quickly discovered that participants in the quarrel had very different perspectives about how things unfolded.

Ultimately, deputies issued a misdemeanor summons for third-degree assault to the man who admitted to throwing rocks at the ATV group and a misdemeanor summons for five counts of third-degree assault to the man who sprayed the Jeep group with bear spray.

Sawyer D’Argonne

5. Ski area officials express concerns about the possibility of capacity limits

As winter quickly approaches, ski area CEOs and county leaders are looking to the state for guidance on how the resorts should operate.

Some ski area officials are worried that the state will impose a 50% capacity on all resorts, according to County Manager Scott Vargo. In guidance for other industries, such as restaurants, the state has issued a 50% capacity limit. 

Ski area leaders were OK with 50% capacity limits on restaurants, transit and retail operations, however, Vargo said.

“The idea of the hill capacity being cut in half, that was very troubling,” he said.

— Libby Stanford 

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