Wildfires continue to burn across Colorado
July 5, 2018
The Sugarloaf Fire burning in western Grand County has been relatively stable over the last few days, showing little-to-no growth since it ballooned to over 1,200 acres on July 3. Officials are warning residents not to let the blaze slip out of their minds too easily, and to continue to stick to the fire restrictions.
"Some people are just numb to the Sugarloaf right now," said Christian Hornbaker, emergency manager for Grand County. "The fire isn't new. So a week or two into the fire people assume we have it contained or it's not around us anymore. On the flip side, the county responders, EMS and sheriff know it's still there because it's still utilizing resources. It's still on the top of our minds because if something else happens, some resources are limited because of that."
The fire, which started after a lightning strike on June 28, is burning about 1,250 acres of Forest Service land 13 miles southwest of Fraser. Fifty-three firefighters are currently on scene, along with four engines and a Type-3 helicopter.
No homes or businesses are in immediate danger from the fire, though firefighters are doing prep work around Henderson Mine, Ute Park and other structures in case the fire pushes back northwest.
Weston Pass Fire
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The Weston Pass Fire has grown to over 10,700 acres just south of Fairplay in the last few days, and is currently at 15 percent containment. More than 500 individuals are currently working on the blaze, establishing fire lines near the Campground of the Rockies, and cooling the flanks of the fire with helicopters.
The subdivisions of Campground of the Rockies Association and Black Mountain south of County Road 22 remain under mandatory evacuation orders. Black Mountain north of County Road 22 and Thousand Peaks remain on voluntary evacuations. An evacuation center has been established at the Fairplay Community Center, with livestock accommodations at the Fair Barn, according to an update on the Park County Alert Center.
Lake Christine Fire
Summit Fire & EMS sent an engine, along with three firefighters to help out with the Lake Christine Fire burning in Eagle County, according to Summit Fire & EMS public information officer Steve Lipsher.
The fire, burning between Basalt and El Jebel, has grown to over 4,900 acres and three homes have already been lost. Evacuations have been ordered for more than 500 homes and 1,800 individuals in the area, and Roaring Fork High School has been established as a shelter.
Lipsher said the crew went as part of a mutual aid assignment, which usually lasts no more than 24 hours, and that they have already returned.
Summit Fire & EMS has also been deployed to assist with the Spring Fire, a savage 103,000-acre blaze 9 miles northeast of Fort Garland. The fire is currently 5 percent contained.
About 1,500 firefighters are currently engaged with the blaze, and the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black is now overseeing operations.
While weather forecasts of rain may help quell the fire, it's also brought flash flood warnings to the area. Officials are warning of increased moisture and weak steering flows in the area of the fire. The flow could also bring dangerous debris, and hail and heavy winds could emerge as well.
"Everybody is on a fire right now," said Lipsher. "We're just trying to help out. We certainly appreciate that everybody is taking the fire restrictions seriously, and refrained from fireworks. All of our neighbors are dealing with fires, and it's really important that we not add to the burden."