Wildland fire breaks out in Wolcott, crews responding | SummitDaily.com

Wildland fire breaks out in Wolcott, crews responding

Crews working two other small fires in Eagle County as well as the Grizzly Creek blaze

John LaConte
Vail Daily
The view from Interstate 70 as a fire burns near Wolcott on Thursday.
Sean Naylor / Vail Daily

Responders in Eagle County are aware of a wildland fire in Wolcott and are responding. Do not report to 911. The blaze is the third fire to spark in the county in the last 24 hours.

While the massive Grizzly Creek Fire continues to burn in Eagle County, firefighters from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit are working two other small fires on the White River National Forest in Eagle County on Thursday.

The Murphy Fire is burning 10 miles south of Edwards and is currently estimated at 1 acre. It is visible from Edwards and the I-70 corridor. Nineteen firefighters and two heavy helicopters are working the fire.

“It’s in the Holy Cross Wilderness up by New York Mountain, up by Murphy Canyon and Murphy Creek,” said Eagle-Holy Cross Deputy District Ranger Marcia Gilles.

Some of the firefighters deployed to that fire are still hiking to the get to the remote section of the wilderness, said David Boyd with the U.S. Forest Service. Air crews were able to respond quickly, however.

“We know that we can draw from the resources that we have assigned to the Grizzly Fire and reassign them if we need to, based on where the fire is located,” Gilles said. “That does come up, and it’s part of the strategic conversations that we have.”

Smoke from the Murphy Creek Fire became visible just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, prompting an Eagle County alert telling residents not to call 911.

“We had a bunch of lightning move through yesterday afternoon and then shortly thereafter we had three new fires that popped in the Eagle-Holy Cross district,” Gilles said. “There could be a chance that maybe there was an abandoned campfire, and it was coincidental with the lightning, so until we get that confirmation, we’re not saying what the cause of fire is.”

Four firefighters and a helicopter are also working the Camp Hale Fire, a small fire in the Camp Hale area estimated at less than a tenth of an acre.

“Because we already have resources and a large type-1 team here, it’s a little easier for us to be able to rearrange and redirect resources as we need, to hit these other fires as they pop up,” Gilles said. “We really are hoping that we got a good handle on people and resources that we borrowed from the Grizzly Fire, as far as our air operations, to be able to help support those to get those out so they can come back and be more committed to this fire.”

Gilles also said there’s a high probability that the Eagle / Holy Cross area of the White River National Forest could see more spot fires today.

“We expect lightning this afternoon,” Gilles said.

With all that in mind, Gilles said, the Forest Service is calling on visitors to the area to be extra careful when it comes to fire precautions.

“We’re asking the public to really help us be diligent in watching what they’re doing as far as their impacts – making sure they’re not dragging their chains if they’re towing trailers, smoking, no campfires right now – the more they can help us, the more we can be on top of this Grizzly Fire, and also be able to react and respond to other fires as they pop up.”

The White River National Forest remains under Stage 2 fire restrictions, which prohibit all campfires and charcoal, even in developed areas. For more information, go to http://www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

As a Summit Daily News reader, you make our work possible.

Now more than ever, your financial support is critical to help us keep our communities informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having on our residents and businesses. Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a difference.

Your donation will be used exclusively to support quality, local journalism.