Straight Creek Fire burning east of Silverthorne quiet overnight; occasional I-70 closures possible

Fire was estimated at 8 acres, 30% contained as of Saturday morning
Posted at 3:41 PM, Jun 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-12 12:12:01-04

DENVER – The Straight Creek Fire burning off the south side of Interstate 70 between Silverthorne and the Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels did not grow overnight Friday, according to a Saturday morning update from the Forest Service. The fire remains at 8 acres and is 30% contained. Interstate 70 may be closed intermittently, the Forest Service said.

Two hot shot crews were ordered Friday afternoon to help fight the fire along with the three engine crews, two heavy helicopters and a light helicopter. About 45 firefighters are still working the fire as of Saturday morning.

"The two heavy helicopters are playing a key role in keeping the Straight Creek Fire in check this afternoon," the Forest Service service wrote on Inciweb. "They are dipping from Lake Dillon. Firefighters on the ground are making good progress with the containment lines. Accurate aerial mapping puts this fire at 8 acres. It is 30 percent contained."

“This fire had the potential to significantly grow today (Friday),” said Dillon District Ranger Adam Bianchi. “The aggressive responsive coordinated among federal, state and local resources kept it small.”

David Boyd, a spokesperson for the fire, said its cause remains under investigation. He added this is a good reminder to be prepared for the start of fire season.

"We're really early in the fire season in Colorado, so we're starting to see these fires get a little bit larger and we've got a long way to go. It's only going to get hotter and dryer. We've got a really critical week coming up of extreme weather, so we really need people to be extra vigilant when they're recreating in the woods, working in the woods... just be really careful because we're going to be at some pretty extreme conditions." he said.

Areas northeast of the fire, including Straight Creek Trail and the Tenderfoot trail system, have been closed for safety concerns.

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This map shows the closure area for the Straight Creek Fire as of 6 p.m. on Friday, July 11, 2021.

The fire broke out Thursday afternoon and forced the closure of eastbound I-70 into the overnight hours. The interstate reopened, save for one lane, by Friday morning. CSP said that lane would be closed between Silverthorne and the tunnels.

The fire is burning on the White River National Forest in both living and dead spruce groves and live and beetle-killed lodgepole pine, according to Boyd.

The fire activity weakened overnight but was expected to become more active as they day progressed amid high temperatures, increasing winds and the severe drought. Highs were expected to reach the mid-70s Friday, with winds out of the west-southwest at 7-10 miles per hour and gusting up to 17 miles per hour.

The fire is burning just south of the eastbound lanes of I-70 between the interstate and Tenderfoot Mountain. The town of Silverthorne said there were no immediate threats to any structures.

Frisco, Silverthorne and Dillon all enacted Stage 1 fire restrictions Friday afternoon because of the fire, drought conditions and soaring temperatures expected through the next week.

“We believe that it is vital to the health and safety of our community that we take a conservative approach and act now before we see more wildfire activity,” said Frisco Mayor Hunter Mortensen.

A small fire that burned along the bike path on Stephens Way was extinguished earlier in the day.

The Platte River Fire also sparked Thursday in southwestern Jefferson County and was 31 acres in size as of the last update. The Dragon Fire, burning 15 miles south of Rangely in Rio Blanco County, was 322 acres and 60% contained as of Friday morning and reported “excellent progress” despite more potential high-risk fire weather.