Colorado wildfires: What to know Tuesday, September 15

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Smoke rises from a hot spot viewed from Luna Lake Trail, looking south, on Monday, September 14. / Photo courtesy Middle Fork Fire Information

Smoke rises from a hot spot viewed from Luna Lake Trail, looking south, on Monday, September 14. / Photo courtesy Middle Fork Fire Information

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Smoke from the West Coast is spreading into southern Colorado Tuesday, and hot spots continue to burn in some fires within our state. Here’s the latest information.

Cameron Peak Fire

The Cameron Peak Fire in the mountains west of Fort Collins is holding steady at 102,596 acres and 4% containment as of Tuesday morning.

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

The voluntary evacuation for Glacier View was lifted Tuesday, but other mandatory and voluntary evacuations remain in place.

Tuesday, a multipronged approach will continue on the western, northern, and eastern perimeters as fire managers seek to construct a boundary around the fire to box it in. Extra resources will be located along the Buckhorn Road and Comanche Lake section of fire line to prevent perimeter growth from the anticipated northwesterly wind event.

Air operations will continue supporting ground crews as needed, focusing on the most active areas of the fire where hot spots have been observed and fire activity is picking up.

In the coming days, once firefighters are able to secure existing fire lines and connect them together, containment will increase.

A total of 1,054 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 burned 4,795 acres as of Monday evening, an increase of about 255 acres from the previous report. No containment has been reported.

“The fire has been producing some noticeable smoke since a return to warm, sunny weather, especially in the mid- to late afternoon hours,” firefighters said in Monday’s update. “The fire continues creeping through heavy dead and down timber, with single tree torching and group tree torching along the fire perimeter. The fire is slowly backing to the west in isolated areas. An old burn scar to the north and the Continental Divide to the east are natural barriers that limit the fire’s ability to spread in those directions. Prevailing winds tend to push the fire toward those natural barriers.”

An aerial view of smoke rising from Middle Fork Fire on Monday, September 14. / Courtesy Middle Fork Fire Information
An aerial view of smoke rising from Middle Fork Fire on Monday, September 14. / Courtesy Middle Fork Fire Information

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.

Pine Gulch Fire

The Pine Gulch Fire burning north of Grand Junction remains at 95% containment as of the final update Friday afternoon.

The lightning-caused fire burned 139,007 acres, making it the largest wildfire in Colorado history. It started on July 31.

The Southern Area Red Team returned the management of the fire to local agencies Saturday morning.

Grizzly Creek Fire

The Grizzly Creek Fire near Glenwood Springs is holding steady at 32,431 acres, with 91% containment as of Tuesday morning.

The fire has not grown in about two weeks, although some smokes are showing in both Grizzly and No Name drainages now that the weather is warmer and drier. Firefighters said this is not unexpected. Firefighters continue to monitor these areas and will take action if needed.

A total of 86 people are fighting the fire, which started August 10.

Investigators believe the fire was human-caused. The investigation into the specific cause is continuing.

Williams Fork Fire

The Williams Fork Fire in Grand County is holding steady at 12,157 acres, with 10% containment as of Sunday evening.

Recent cool temperatures and snow have resulted in minimal fire behavior, and have reduced the chance for fire growth. However, as temperatures fluctuate, people 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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