COLORADO — Hazy conditions continue in southern Colorado from wildfires burning across the state. Winds are helping to move smoke into the Front Range like we’ve been seeing all weekend.
Pine Gulch Fire
The Pine Gulch Fire is 18 miles north of Grand Junction in Mesa and Garfield Counties. The fire was sparked by lightning on July 31. It’s currently burning in remote, rough terrain. This fire has scorched 129,715 acres and is 44 percent contained.
Wind outflow boundaries from nearby storms have been one of the main things affecting the fire. Earlier this week a storm moving through Wyoming pushed an outflow boundary south over the fire. This caused the fire to put out a huge amount of heat and ash and explode in size quickly. With daily storm chances in the week ahead, gusty winds and dry lightning over/near the fire will be a concern.
Grizzly Creek Fire
The Grizzly Creek Fire is 1 mile east of Glenwood Springs and started on Aug. 10. It has burned 30,362 acres and is currently 30 percent contained. Fire activity was moderate over the weekend which allowed crews to finish containment on the eastern side from Coffee Pot to Bair Ranch to I-70.
There are still pockets of heavy fuels burning in the Spruce Ridge area as crews continue making progress on the fire. There’s the potential for more fire growth in the coming days with hot, dry conditions. Rain amounts will likely be small so winds and dry lightning will be the main threats. I-70 remains closed between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum with no word on reopening.
Williams Fork Fire
The Williams Fork Fire is human-caused and began burning Aug. 14. The fire has grown to 10,813 acres and is 3 percent contained. Despite hot temperatures, the fire didn’t have any major growth over the weekend. Fire crews say the fire will likely be on the landscape for long time due to the standing dead timber, beetle killed trees and very dry vegetation. These fuels will easily burn when winds push the fire over these areas which will create additional containment challenges.
Cameron Peak Fire
The Cameron Peak Fire, just west of Fort Collins, started burning on Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests on Aug. 13. It’s burning in rugged terrain and has grown rapidly from hot, windy and mostly dry weather. The fire has charred 18,287 Acres and is not contained as of Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
Winds will continue to help fire movement east toward Comanche Peak. Crews are watching the risk of the fire to spread down Hwy 14 and Poudre Canyon. Not much relief is expected with hot temps, low humidity and isolated storm activity.
On Friday, August 21st, a special meeting was called by the Pikes Peak Region Wildfire Preparedness Group to discuss the present fire danger in the area and if the current fire restrictions are adequate. The group is looking at the forecasted hot weather trends, the large fires burning within the State, local fuel moisture readings, and the availability of resources if a fire starts in the area.
CSFD will host a press conference about these conditions Monday at 9:30 a.m.