Damp, cooler conditions helping firefighters at wildfires in Colorado

Sylvan Fire from air_June 28 2021
Oil Springs Fire_June 27 2021_Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office
Oil Springs Fire_June 28 2021_Rio Blanco County Sheriff's Office
Posted at 11:51 AM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 13:17:05-04

Wet and cool conditions this weekend helped firefighters across Colorado as they work at wildfires, and more precipitation is expected statewide this week before drier and hotter weather returns.

A cooler and unsettled weather pattern will cover Colorado for the next few days, bringing more widespread rain to the fires. This is diminishing fire behavior across the state. This will also help cleanse some of the wildfire smoke out of the sky.

While this rain is helping current firefighting efforts, it has caused multiple mudslides on the Grizzly Creek Fire burn scar to cross Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon. More closures are possible. On Wednesday, there is also concern of flash flooding on the burn scars of the East Troublesome Fire, Cameron Peak Fire, Calwood Fire and Williams Fork Fire.

Several fire restrictions remain in place.

READ MORE: Burn scars: A historic fire and a Colorado mountain community in healing

Read the latest about Colorado wildfires below and check back for updates throughout the day.

Muddy Slide Fire

The Muddy Slide Fire, which is burning in the area of Forest Service Roads 280 and 285 on Green Ridge in south Routt County, has grown to 4,093 acres as of Friday morning with 39% containment. The fire sparked June 20 and its cause is under investigation.

The containment is along County Road 16 on the eastern side of the fire.

With precipitation moving in this week, fire activity is expected to stay low, with some possible pockets of isolated torching. Crews will prepare indirect fire lines along the fire's north perimeter, which would lessen the chance of it spreading farther that direction.

Muddy Slide Fire map_June 30 2021

Due to reduced fire behavior and less visible smoke, fire officials said they've seen people trying to enter the fire closure area.

County Road 16 is closed along the fire, and there are mandatory evacuation along its eastern side. Click here to see a map.

A virtual community meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 5 p.m. on the Muddy Slide Facebook page.

The blaze has the potential to be a long-duration fire.

Stage 2 fire restrictions are in effect in Routt County.

Go here for the latest information on the fire.

Oil Springs Fire

The lightning-caused Oil Springs Fire has grown to 12,613 acres and as of Friday morning, crews had increased its containment to 97%. The fire was reported on June 18 about 20 miles south of Rangely. Fire officials said the Friday morning update will be the last one.

The blaze is not expected to grow anymore.

County Roads 113 and 116 and Bureau of Land Management Road 1045 remain closed as of Thursday. Highway 139 is open. There are no evacuations for this fire.

Oil Springs Fire map_July 1 2021

Crews will continue to secure and mop up the fire along its perimeter on Monday.

Fire activity has been minimal, but it could increase this week if the fire moves with the wind to areas with heavier fuels.

Oil Springs Fire_June 23 2021_Bureau of Land Management photo
Oil Springs Fire, June 23, 2021

County Roads 113, 116 and BLM Road 1045 remain closed.

Stage 2 fire restrictions are in place for Rio Blanco County.

Go here for the latest information on the fire.

Sylvan Fire

Firefighters made good progress over the past week, increasing containment of the 3,792-acre Sylvan Fire to 58% by Friday morning. The fire, which is burning 15 miles south of Eagle, started on June 20 and the cause is under investigation.

Sylvan Fire map_July 2 2021

Weather in the area this week is expected to help with crews' progress as they continue fireline construction. While Monday will see a decrease in moisture, lower humidity, and slightly warmer temperatures, there is a chance of additional showers on Tuesday through Friday. Previous rain is keeping fuels moist, according to fire officials.

"Fire spread will be limited and consisting mostly of smoldering and creeping," they said.

Operations Section Chief Rob Powell said critical burning conditions will return by the weekend.

According to the U.S. Forest Service Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program, minimal smoke is expected Monday and Tuesday in nearby communities.

The Hardscrabble and Sylvan Lake areas remain closed, which includes the Hardscrabble trail system and Forest Service Roads 400, 412, 413, 416 and 436 areas north of Red Table Mountain Trail. South of Red Table Mountain, the Coyote Park and Crooked Creek Park areas are also closed. Pre-evacuation orders were cancelled Monday for the upper Frying Pan valley from the dam east to Hagerman Pass.

Spread of Sylvan Fire map_June 28 2021

The blaze has the potential to be a long-duration fire due to the steep terrain, fuel types, and forecasted weather.

Eagle County and Pitkin County are currently under Stage 2 fire restrictions.

Go here for the latest information on the fire.

Trail Canyon Fire

As of Friday, the Trail Canyon Fire burned 881 acres and was 90% contained as it burns on Ute Tribal lands in Montezuma County.

On Wednesday morning — five days after the fire was reported — crews were working to secure the final portion of the fire's perimeter.

Firefighter Peter Ortega, the former Clifton Fire Department chief, said the fire stayed 881 acres for several days.

On Wednesday, he confirmed that this fire is considered contained.

Fire officials said they believe the fire was caused by lightning.

Go here for the latest information on the fire.

West Fire

The 3,429-acre West Fire is 100% contained in the northwest corner of Colorado as of Thursday. The fire sparked on June 20 80 miles northwest of Craig.

The fire did not grow at all Saturday, fire officials said, thanks to precipitation on Friday and Saturday.

Unburned areas within established fire lines were smoldering Sunday and may continue into this week, which could produce visible smoke.

After it was declared fully contained on Thursday, the Bureau of Land Management said a wildland fire engine will remain on scene for about a week to extinguish hot spots.

The fire was caused by lightning.

Stage 2 fire restrictions are in effect for all Bureau of Land Management lands in northwest Colorado and for all unincorporated private and state lands in Moffat County.

Go here for the latest information on the fire.

Wild Cow Fire

The Wild Cow Fire, which was first reported on June 21, has grown to 560 acres. By Monday evening, it was considered 100% contained. It is burning on Bureau of Land Management land, about 33 miles north of Mack in Garfield County.

The fire was 53% contained as of Thursday evening, and the weekend's moderate temperatures and higher humidity helped firefighters increase that percentage as they constructed fire line.

Lightning is suspected for causing the fire.

This fire has not forced any road closures or evacuations.

Go here for the latest information on the fire.

Watson Mountain fire

The Watson Mountain Fire was first reported Tuesday at 9:43 a.m. near the Colorado-Wyoming line between Craig and Fort Collins. The size of the fire is unknown.