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Multiple wildfires burning in Colorado amid dry conditions

moffat county fire.png
Posted at 5:47 PM, Jun 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 22:34:22-04

DENVER — Crews across the state are battling multiple wildfires as dry conditions persist.

On Sunday, at least three new wildfires were reported.

A fire burning near Sylvan Lake State Park in Eagle County, called the Sylvan Fire, forced officials to issue pre-evacuation notices Sunday. Campers and others recreating in Sylvan Lake State Park and much of the surrounding lands were evacuated.

Sylvan Fire_June 20 2021

On Sunday evening, the fire was estimated to be at 180 acres and growing in lodgepole pine and other timber on the White River National Forest. It is being pushed by high winds and firefighters are reporting extreme fire behavior, officials said.

On Monday morning, the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office said all residents, businesses and other people in the Ruedi, Meredith and Thomasville areas may be asked to evacuate if the Sylvan Wildfire worsens. As of 6:30 a.m., the upper Frying Pan from the dam to Hagerman Pass is under pre-evacuation notice. An evacuation center is set up at the Basalt High School, located at 600 Southside Drive.

The cause is under investigation.

In Moffat County, a fire was reported burning on Middle Mountain in the northwest corner of the county. The fire is on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and State Trust Lands, burning in heavy lodgepole pine timbers, officials said. The size of the blaze is unknown. Officials have named this blaze the West Fire.

The West Fire is spewing smoke that's visible across most of Moffat County and Craig.

A Pitkin County fire, called the Snowmass Canyon Fire, was fully contained Saturday. The one-acre blaze did not damage any structures.

A third fire reported Sunday, the Muddy Slide Fire, is burning in the area of Forest Service Roads 280 and 285 on Green Ridge in south Routt County. Several local, state, and federal resources are working at the scene, officials said.

Green Ridge and South Stagecoach are under pre-evacuation notice for this fire. As of Monday morning, it was about 100 acres.

A lightning-sparked fire in Mount Falcon Park in Jefferson County flared up Sunday, growing a quarter acre since Saturday. A helicopter is attacking the blaze while the park remains closed. The park was able to reopen for a few hours Sunday before it was closed again after the fire flared up.

Lightning is also being blamed for starting a wildfire in Rio Blanco County Friday. This blaze, called the Oil Springs Fire, is burning 20 miles south of Rangely and was at 0% containment Monday evening. It has grown to 7,183 acres.

The Oil Springs Fire is burning in a remote area, preventing trucks from getting to the blaze, officials said. However, no structures are threatened. The BLM is expecting the fire to burn numerous acres. Crews have reported multiple spot fires associated with the Oil Springs Fire.

Highway 139 was closed Sunday as the fire encroached. It jumped the highway overnight Sunday. It remains closed as of Monday evening.

In addition to Highway 139, several other roads are closed, including the County Road 23 and County Road 113 intersection and County Road 122 at mile marker 10.

Evacuations were ordered for County Road 116, County Road 27, County Road 28, County Road 120, County Road 26A, County Road 103 and County Road 128. The evacuation order is in place until at least 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office.

Also on Saturday, BLM reported several fires along Interstate 70 amid multiple lightning strikes. The largest fire is the Smith Gulch Fire, an estimated 5-acre blaze burning northeast of De Beque and is visible from I-70. Officials reported multiple engines, crews, and aircraft are making good progress on the fires.