Colorado wildfires: What to know Wednesday, September 9


Weather changed quickly as the sign shows in the snow, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Minturn, Colo. Summer came to an abrupt halt in parts of the Rocky Mountains on Tuesday as temperatures reaching into the 90s plunged about 60 degrees in less than 24 hours, with a powerful surge of cold air from Canada unleashing snow and damaging winds in several states.(Chris Dillmann/Vail Daily via AP)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Snow fell across Colorado Tuesday, helping slow the growth of fires across the state. Here’s the lastest information as of Wednesday.

Cameron Peak Fire

The Cameron Peak Fire in the mountains west of Fort Collins has burned 102,596 acres, making it the fifth-largest wildfire in Colorado history. It is 4% contained.

In their update Wednesday morning, fire crews said the cold and wet weather “abruptly stopped the eastward progress of the fire.”

Fire crews said 8 to 14 inches of heavy, wet snow fell in the fire area, which diminished fire activity but made travel difficult off of main roads.

“Crews took advantage of this much needed relief to evaluate the new perimeter of the fire for opportunities to construct direct line to contain the fire and hold it to its current footprint,” crews said in the update. “North Zone firefighters are assessing opportunities to take an offensive stance on the northern and eastern sides of the fire to include Green Ridge, Highway 14, Pingree Park Road and Buckhorn Road areas. On Monday, the fire moved into more favorable terrain and the lighter fuels found within the High Park burn scar which will allow crews to take a more direct approach. Additionally, as more containment is achieved on other Colorado fires, more resources are arriving to assist with fireline construction, monitoring, and mop up operations.”

“The current weather conditions have tempered fire behavior, but the area will experience a gradual warming and drying trend toward the end of the week with sunny skies and temperatures in the 70s,” the update continued. “Heat is expected to persist in heavy logs and under tree canopies. As the weather turns warmer and drier, fire activity is expected to pick up again later in the week.”

A total of 1,057 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 was first reported Sunday. It is burning along the Middle Fork of Mad Creek in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness, about 10 miles north of Steamboat Springs.

The fire was estimated at about 3,522 acres Monday evening. Due to winter weather and cloud cover, no more recent size estimates are available.

Fire behavior is minimal Wednesday, but is expected to increase in activity as warmer, drier weather returns this weekend.

A total of 40 people are fighting the fire.

Pine Gulch Fire

The Pine Gulch Fire burning north of Grand Junction is 95% contained as of Tuesday evening. A total of 323 people are fighting the fire.

Rain and snow fell on the fire Tuesday. No fire perimeter growth is expected Wednesday. Given the weather, there are no areas of concern for fire behavior. Light vegetation will be wet and unlikely to burn, and heavy material will remain mostly shaded by cloud cover, and will continue getting moister.

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

Grizzly Creek Fire

The Grizzly Creek Fire near Glenwood Springs is holding steady at 32,464 acres, with 91% containment as of Monday night. Precipitation fell on the fire Monday night and was expected to continue through Wednesday and Thursday.

A total of 383 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 at 12,157 acres, with 10% containment as of Tuesday evening.

Snow fell over the fire Tuesday, limiting the fire activity to smoldering in heavy fuels.

The fire started August 14 and is believed to be human-caused. A total of 268 people are fighting the fire.

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