East Troublesome Fire explodes, becomes fourth-largest in Colorado history


GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — The East Troublesome Fire grew more than 100,000 acres Wednesday, exploding to become the fourth-largest wildfire in Colorado history.

The fire prompted an emergency evacuation of a large area surrounding Rocky Mountain National Park, including the town of Grand Lake on Wednesday. The western portion of Estes Park was evacuated Thursday.

FOX21 affiliate KDVR reports homes have burned in the fire, but we don’t know the scope of the devastation yet.

All of Rocky Mountain National Park is closed to visitors Thursday due to the fire activity.

Portions of Highways 36, 14, 125, 7, 40, and 34 are closed due to the fire. CDOT is strongly discouraging travel north/northwest of Boulder.

Gov. Jared Polis and other state leaders held a press conference Thursday afternoon to update Coloradans on the state’s wildfire response. Watch a replay here.

Jessy Ellenberger made this photo from the deck of her home north of Granby, Colo., after sunset on Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. Residents in and around a gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park have evacuated and the park was closed after one of several fires burning in northern Colorado exploded late Wednesday. The damage to the Grand Lake area from the East Troublesome Fire was not clear as of Thursday morning. (Jessy Ellenberger via AP)

The fire, which started just over a week ago on October 14, had burned 19,086 acres as of 9 a.m. Wednesday, according to an InciWeb report. At that time, containment was at 10%.

The fire moved east across Highway 125 Wednesday. Strong winds and dry fuel allowed it to grow at a rate of about 6,000 acres per hour, according to the Grand County sheriff. By Thursday morning, it had exploded to 125,602 acres.

The pyrocumulus cloud from the fire was more than 40,000 feet high Wednesday afternoon. It was visible from points up and down the Front Range, including Colorado Springs.

The fire’s overnight growth made it the fourth-largest fire in Colorado history, surpassed only by the Cameron Peak, Pine Gulch, and Hayman fires.

The Cameron Peak Fire, which is still actively burning, has scorched 206,667 acres west of Fort Collins. The Pine Gulch Fire, which was fully contained in late September, burned 139,007 acres north of Grand Junction. The 2002 Hayman fire burned 137,760 acres north of Lake George.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Local Stories

More Local