Colorado wildfires: What to know Thursday, September 17

The Henderson Mill with the Williams Fork Fire burned area in the background. / Courtesy Williams Fork Fire Information

The Henderson Mill with the Williams Fork Fire burned area in the background. / Courtesy Williams Fork Fire Information

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Smoke from the West Coast is causing hazy skies in southern Colorado again Thursday, and hot spots continue to burn in some fires within our state. Here’s the latest information.

An air quality health advisory is in effect until 9 a.m. Friday for most of Colorado.

Cameron Peak Fire

The Cameron Peak Fire in the mountains west of Fort Collins is holding steady at 102,596 acres, with 8% containment as of Thursday morning.

The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said at least 54 buildings, including 25 homes, have been destroyed in the fire.

Wednesday, fire activity was lessened due to higher humidity in the afternoon, according to fire officials.      

Thursday, firefighters will continue constructing direct and indirect fire lines and implementing structure protection. Established firefighting tactics will continue, with resources working on all sides of the fire. The bulk of resources will be located on the northwestern and northern sides, where fire is the most active and winds are pushing the fire.

According to Thursday’s update, fire activity is expected to remain elevated with dry conditions, warm temperatures, and low humidity. This weekend, fire perimeters will once again be tested, with a thunderstorm expected to bring gusty erratic winds, although an increase in humidity, lower temperatures, and possible rain are expected to prevent spread and diminish fire activity.

A total of 1,032 people are fighting the fire, which has been burning since August 13. There’s no word yet on the cause.

Middle Fork Fire

The Middle Fork Fire about 10 miles north of Steamboat Springs has increased to 5,445 acres as of Wednesday morning. No containment has been reported.

The fire has been burning more actively for the past couple of days, according to Thursday’s update. The most significant fire growth has occurred at the southwest corner of the fire perimeter.

Similar conditions are expected to continue Thursday. Potential for stronger winds increases Friday and Saturday.

Firefighters are employing a full-suppression strategy, engaging the fire when and where they have the highest probability for success.

Firefighters said they expect the fire to burn “until a persistent seasonal change of weather arrives.”

A total of 95 people are fighting the fire. Investigators have determined it was caused by lightning.

Grizzly Creek Fire

The Grizzly Creek Fire near Glenwood Springs is holding steady at 32,431 acres, with 91% containment as of Wednesday night. The fire has not grown in about two weeks.

Thursday, firefighters will continue to monitor Grizzly and No Name creeks for smokes and will take action if needed. Firefighters expect some activity as conditions warm, particularly in areas within the fire perimeter that have not burned yet.

The local Type 3 team transfers to a local Type 4 team Thursday, reflecting that fewer resources are now on the fire as progress continues.

A total of 60 people are fighting the fire, which started August 10.

Investigators believe the fire was human-caused.

Williams Fork Fire

The Williams Fork Fire in Grand County is now at 12,280 acres, with 16% containment as of Wednesday morning.

Recent cool temperatures and snow have resulted in minimal fire behavior, and have reduced the chance for fire growth. However, as temperatures fluctuate, the public should expect to see smoke from within the fire area as pockets of fuel continue to burn. The fire is expected to burn until sustained wetting rain or snow extinguishes it.

The fire started August 14 and is believed to be human-caused. A total of 82 people are fighting the fire.

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