Fire officials report no growth at East Troublesome Fire since snowstorm hit Sunday

Grand Lake snow on East Troublesome Fire_Oct 25 2020
Posted at 8:19 AM, Oct 28, 2020

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — Fire officials announced Wednesday morning that the East Troublesome Fire hasn't increased in size since a snowstorm hit the area on Sunday.

Snow fell across the entire fire Sunday and Monday, dropping between 6 and 12 inches. As of Tuesday morning, containment remained at 20%.

Crews on Wednesday evening said they expected fire activity to increase as warmer temperatures and gusty winds could revive the fire heading into Thursday.

Pacific Northwest Team 3 Incident Commander Noel Livingston said the fire is now 193,774 acres, including the Thompson Zone, which is the spot fire that reached east of the Continental Divide. An infrared aircraft flew the fire on Tuesday for the first time since Sunday, and while it showed that the acreage had increased slightly from 192,560 acres, Livingston said that doesn't mean there was an increase in fire activity. The growth was from early Sunday.

In fact, he noted that the fire hadn't grown at all since the snowstorm.

"We saw no active fire anywhere across the incident," he said about Tuesday. "There is some smoldering showing up."

While the snow has slowed the fire's activity, it's likely not enough to put it out, officials said.

Tuesday was sunny in Grand County, leading to some snow melt, he said. The Thompson Zone fire was still considered to be a potential threat to Estes Valley, according to the Town of Estes Park.

Firefighters will focus on smoldering areas on Wednesday, plus patrolling to ensure there isn't any risk to the fire line or structures, he said. They will also continue to connect containment lines around the final pieces of the southeastern flank to reduce any further risk from Granby up to Grand Lake.

Fire officials said they will continue to mop up and extinguish hot spots along Highway 34. The highway reopened Wednesday from Highway 40 to Golf Course Road after it was closed for the fire.

Firefighters may be able to start preparing a contingency fireline in Rocky Mountain National Park Wednesday along the East Inlet trail corridor.

READ MORE: How you can help victims of Colorado's wildfires

The weather conditions Wednesday and Thursday will be similar to Tuesday — sunny, cool but warming up, and with a drying trend.

Over the past few days, many evacuation orders have been downgraded. Click here for an interactive evacuation map, which is also shown below.

Anybody with a home in the evacuation area is encouraged to fill out a property verification and notification form so officials can contact you about re-entry instructions and damage notifications.

Three of the largest wildfires in Colorado history occurred this year.

These are the state's 10 largest wildfires, ranked by acreage, are:
1. Cameron Peak Fire (2020): 208,663 acres
2. East Troublesome Fire (2020): 193,774 acres
3. Pine Gulch Fire (2020): 139,007 acres
4. Hayman Fire (2002): 137,760 acres
5. Spring Fire (2018): 108,045 acres
6. High Park Fire (2012): 87,284 acres
7. Missionary Ridge Fire (2002): 72,962 acres
8. 416 Fire (2018): 54,000 acres
9. Bridger Fire (2008): 45,800 acres
10. Last Chance Fire (2012): 45,000 acres
Note: The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center said the West Fork Complex fire, which burned a total of 109,632 acres in 2013, is not included on this list since it involved three separate fires.

Denver7 Gives has started a new fundraising campaign for victims of Colorado's wildfires with all proceeds staying to help our local neighbors. See how you can donate here.