Multiple wildfires, including six that the National Interagency Fire Center considers "large," are burning in Colorado as hot and dry conditions persist around the state.
The National Interagency Fire Center raised the preparedness level to Level Four of five levels on Tuesday, meaning much of the country is experiencing wildland fire activity and areas are likely competing for fire resources. In Level Four, more than half of the country's wildland firefighting resources are being used. As of Tuesday, 50 large fires have burned 543,099 acres in 11 states, including Colorado.
The fires currently considered "large" in Colorado are:
- Oil Springs Fire in White River National Forest: 11,933 acres, 0% contained
- Sylvan Fire in White River National Forest: 3,752 acres, 0% contained
- West Fire in Moffat County: 3,401 acres, 30% contained
- Trail Canyon Fire in Ute Tribal lands in Montezuma County: 881 acres, 90% contained
- Wild Cow Fire in Grand Junction: 553 acres, 0% contained
- Collom Fire in Moffat County: 640 acres, 95% contained
The Muddy Slide Fire, which is now 4,000 acres about 18 miles west of Kremmling, is expected to be added to the above list.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said there is an Air Quality Health Advisory for Eagle County, where the Sylvan Fire is burning, and Routt County, where the Muddy Slide Fire is burning. This includes the areas around Gypsum, Eagle, Edwards, Vail, Steamboat Springs, Yampa, Toponas and Phippsburg. The advisory will last until 9 a.m. Friday.
We are providing the latest updates on all wildfire activity in the state.
The Sylvan Fire, which is burning 12 miles south of the town of Eagle near Sylvan Lake State Park in Eagle County, is currently 3,752 acres, as of the latest update on Wednesday morning. There is no containment estimate. Lightning is suspected as the cause of the fire, which was first reported around 3:15 p.m. Sunday.
In an update Wednesday evening, officials said weather conditions were favorable for firefighters on the Sylvan Fire, and they were able to construct direct fireline around the 20-30 acres that crossed Forest Service Road 400, or West Brush Creek Road, as well as approximately 100 acres that crossed the powerline road and burned to Sylvan Lake.
Several mandatory and voluntary evacuations have been ordered:
- Mandatory: Areas of Hat Creek, Yeoman State Park and Fulford
- Pre-evacuation: All residents in the areas of Frost Creek, Salt Creek and Bruce Creek
- Mandatory (completed Sunday): Campers and others recreating in Sylvan Lake State Park
- May be evacuated (as of Monday): Ruedi, Meredith and Thomasville areas, as well as the upper Frying Pan from the dam to Hagerman Pass
An evacuation center is set up at the Basalt High School, located at 600 Southside Drive. Residents may see air tankers working along the north side of the fire, and increased traffic in downtown Eagle as fire crews meet at Eagle Valley Middle School.
A virtual community meeting will be held on the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page at 6 p.m.
The White River National Forest will enter Stage 2 fire restrictions on Friday.
Firefighters have been battling hot, dry and windy conditions, which crews said led to fire activity increasing dramatically on Tuesday.
Lightning is suspected as the cause of a wildfire that was first reported in Rio Blanco County Friday. This blaze, called the Oil Springs Fire, is burning 20 miles south of Rangely and was at 0% containment Tuesday evening. It grew to 11,933 acres as of Wednesday evening.
Firefighting crews saw active fire behavior throughout Tuesday, with wind gusts up to 40 mph. Scattered showers and storms are expected Wednesday through Saturday. Strong outflow winds will produce extreme fire behavior in areas where there's no precipitation.
The Oil Springs Fire is burning in a remote area, preventing trucks from getting to the blaze, officials said. However, no structures are currently threatened. The Bureau of Land Management is expecting the fire to burn numerous acres. Crews are focusing on containing a 37-acre spot fire six miles in front of the fire on Wednesday.
Highway 139, as well as several other roads closed, including the County Road 23 and County Road 113 intersection, and County Road 122 at mile marker 10. These roads all reopened at 8 a.m. Thursday, with the exception of Highway 139.
⚠️UPDATE: CO 139 Douglas Pass continues to be closed into tomorrow morning, due to the Oil Springs Fire burning next to the road. Firefighters are conducting back burning and other operations along the highway. CDOT will continue to assess the closure as fire operations continue. https://t.co/QvrlOSl0tP pic.twitter.com/C7RZZylRaC— Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) (@ColoradoDOT) June 24, 2021
Evacuations, which were lifted on Thursday morning, 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.
Rio Blanco County has Stage 1 fire restrictions today, which will be upgraded to Stage 2 on Friday.
The Muddy Slide Fire is burning in the area of Forest Service Roads 280 and 285 on Green Ridge in south Routt County. By Wednesday evening, the fire had reportedly grown to 4,000 acres in size, up from 2,475 on Tuesday evening. Containment is 0%.
Several local, state, and federal resources are working at the scene, officials said. The fire is expected to grow north and east.
County Road 16 between mile markers 12 and 21 is under mandatory evacuation as of Tuesday evening.
Green Ridge and South Stagecoach are under pre-evacuation notice for this fire. The Hayden Fairgrounds is taking livestock and the Routt County Humane Society in Steamboat Springs will take pets if owners call 970-879-1090 first. A shelter is set up at the Soroco High School in Oak Creek.
The Muddy Slide Fire Evacuation Center located at the SOROCO High School in Oak Creek closed Wednesday evening and will reopen at 10 a.m. Thursday morning at the SOROCO Middle School adjacent to the High School.
Routt County Commissioners voted to move to Stage 2 fire restrictions effective 12 p.m. Wednesday.
The West Fire was reported in Moffat County on Sunday on Middle Mountain in the northwest corner of the county. The fire grew to 3,401 acres as of Thursday morning and had crossed into southwest Wyoming. It did not grow throughout the day Wednesday. Officials believe the fire was started by lightning. It is now 30% contained.
The West Fire is spewing smoke that's visible across most of Moffat County and Craig. Parts of Moffat County Road 72 and 10N are currently closed.
It is burning in heavy lodgepole pine.
As of Tuesday evening, no structures were threatened.
The 881-acre Trail Canyon Fire is burning on Ute Mountain on Ute Tribal lands in Montezuma County, about 10 miles northwest of Red Mesa. It was first reported Friday and believed to have been sparked by lightning. It was reported to be at 90% containment on Wednesday evening.
Approximately 65 firefighters have been assigned to the fire and they are being assisted by helicopters and fixed-wing air tankers, with additional resources expected Monday, according to Inciweb.
Wild Cow Fire
The Lower Valley Fire District says the Wild Cow Fire has grown to 553 acres as of Wednesday afternoon and is burning northwest of Fruita. Containment is unknown.
The fire currently hasn't closed any roads, but there will be significant traffic impacts. The district and Colorado State Patrol in Fruita are asking drivers to limit traveling on Highway 6 and Highway 50 between Fruita and Mack. CSP said drivers headed toward the Country Jam should use I-70 as the primary route to allow first responders to work around this fire.
Arial resources and ground crews continue to engage in suppression effort