Williams Fork Fire stays at 6,627 acres overnight but remains active on interior

Williams Fork Fire_Aug 15 2020
Posted at 11:02 AM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 13:06:49-04

GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — The Williams Fork Fire, burning about 15 miles southwest of Fraser, remained at 6,627 acres overnight but remained active, fire officials reported Tuesday morning.

The fire on Monday was active on its interior, officials said, but did not grow much in size due to northeast winds. Officials are still preparing evacuation plans for residential areas through the Fraser Valley, though no evacuations have been ordered yet.

The fire has grown relatively slowly compared to other current wildfires in the state — it was estimated at about 6,000 acres Sunday and has seen only minimal growth over the last two days.

Officials announced on Sunday night that the fire was caused by humans sometime Friday around noon, but did not say how.

About 200 fire personnel are working at the fire, which remains 0% contained.

A Type 2 team assumed command of the fire Monday at 6 a.m. A Type 1 team will assume command by Wednesday, bringing more resources and experience in fighting complex fires.

Fire officials have worked with the Grand County Sheriff's Office on an evacuation plan, if needed, for the towns of Fraser and Winter Park, though no evacuations have been ordered as of Tuesday at 9 a.m.

The fire started burning in the Byers Peak. Officials estimated that it would take up to two months for the fire to be fully contained due to the dry conditions expected to continue in the weeks ahead.

Ed LeBlanc, the Arapaho National Forest Incident Commander, said during a community meeting Saturday that the fire was burning in heavy dead and downed lodgepole pine and spruce fir trees – most killed by beetles.

Residents in the area can sign up for evacuation notices through the Grand County Code RED program.

All access to the Church Park is closed, including Forest Service Road 133, Forest Service Road 139, County Road 30, County Road 3 (with exemption for mill workers), and County Road 50 starting at Young Life Camp, according to county officials.

The county said County Road 3, County Road 50, Keyser Creek, Darling Creek and Church Park are under evacuation orders as of Monday morning.

The Sugarloaf Campground and South Fork Campground were under mandatory evacuation orders when the fire was first reported. County Road 50, County Road 505, County Road 73, Aspen Canyon, Morgan Gulch, and Henderson Mil are under pre-evacuation notice.

See an evacuation map below or click here.