WRNF: Forest officials stress caution as fire danger remains high

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. – Forest officials with the White River National Forest are urging the public to remain vigilant and follow fire restrictions and common-sense campfire use where allowed.

In spite of cool evening temperatures and shorter days, fire danger remains high across the White River National Forest with unseasonably dry and windy conditions. All ranger districts remain in Stage 1 fire restrictions.

“We are still seeing large fires with extreme fire behavior in many parts of Colorado,” said White River National Forest Deputy Supervisor Lisa Stoeffler. “The same potential exists in the White River National Forest, and resources are stretched thin across the region. This isn’t your typical October in Colorado. We absolutely need people to be smart when it comes to fire.”

Fire personnel continue to report illegal and abandoned campfires, and despite colder overnight temperatures, these fires have high potential to spread during warm daytime conditions.  

“We’re responding to frequent human-caused wildfires – about one a day,” said Lathan Johnson, Upper Colorado River Fire Management Officer.  “We need for the public to abide by the current fire restrictions.”

Under Stage 1 fire restrictions, campfires and charcoal are only allowed in developed Forest Service campgrounds in the metal fire rings and grates provided. Where fires are allowed campers should drown their campfires with water and stir until coals are cool to the touch before leaving camp.

Propane and other petroleum-fueled stoves and camping equipment are allowed throughout the forest under Stage 1, as are sheep-herder and other wood-burning stoves often used in hunting tents provided they are fully enclosed metal stoves with a chimney at least five feet in length and have a spark arrestor with a screen opening of ¼ inch or less.

For more information about the current Stage 1 fire restrictions on the White River National Forest, call 970-945-2521 or visit www.fs.usda.gov/whiteriver.

WRNF: Forest officials stress caution as fire danger remains high

Grizzly Creek Fire at 25,000 acres

Fire Situation:
Grizzly Creek Fire – 25,000 acres, estimated
Start Date: Aug. 10
Location: Glenwood Canyon
Containment: 0%

Resources:
Hand Crews:
12
Helicopters: 17
Engines: 44
Water Tenders: 10
Dozers: 5
Feller bunchers and other logging equipment
Total personnel: 647

8.18.20, 9:23 a.m. – A Facebook Live Community Meeting for the Grizzly Creek Fire is planned for this evening, August 18, from 6 to 7 p.m.

8.17.20, 9:45 a.m. – Yesterday’s activity: Yesterday, more favorable weather allowed firefighters to continue with water and retardant drops. Construction of indirect and direct fire lines and additional structure protection were priorities. There was active fire in the upper No Name Creek drainage and resources focused on preventing spot fires from crossing the creek. The fire advanced in the Coffee Pot Road area, into flatter terrain, which help slow down the fire. Firefighters were able to directly engage the fire using air support providing retardant drops. Structure protection was ongoing in Bair Ranch and No Name, with no loss of structures.

Heavy smoke in the late afternoon was due primarily to the fire continuing to burn thick fuels in canyons and gullies along the north side of the fire.
Today’s Activity: Weather for the next two days is a concern, with the potential for dry thunderstorms. Hot and dry conditions with winds out of the north east are expected to continue. Firefighters will bolster their efforts using heavy equipment in every division to construct fire line. Structure protection will continue in No Name and Bair Ranch, with additional efforts in High Aspen, Spring Valley and areas to the south as needed. Crews on the east side of the fire will work to complete indirect fire line construction from I-70 to the Coffee Pot Road.

Crews will engage the fire where they safely can. Direct attack of the fire continues to be difficult, due to the rugged and steep terrain.
Daily operations video updates will be posted on the Grizzly Creek Fire facebook page. Maps and other information will also be posted on Inciweb.

Evacuations: Please go to the Garfield County and Eagle County websites, as well as on official Facebook accounts.

Area closures: BLM recreation sites and boat ramps on the southern portion of the Colorado River Road (RD 301) near Dotsero, Colorado. Specifically, Cottonwood Landing boat ramp, Lyons campground and boat ramp, and Dotsero boat ramp.

Road closures: I-70 continues to be closed between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum, with no estimated time for reopening. Forest Service Road 400, Eagle-Thomasville Road, is closed due to excessive traffic and accidents resulting from drivers attempting to use this primarily dirt road as an alternate to the I-70 closure. Cottonwood Pass Road in Garfield and Eagle counties. Coffee Pot Road, Transfer Trail and Clinetop Mesa roads and areas of the Flattops accessed by those roads are also closed, as well as many surrounding White River National Forest and BLM roads. For more information regarding road closures: www.cotrip.org

Fire restrictions: Stage 2 fire restrictions are in place for all jurisdictions.

Smoke outlook 8.17.20

A temporary flight restriction is in place over the fire area. If you fly, we can’t.

Fire information:
InciWeb
Facebook
Twitter: @fire_grizzly
For photos – Flickr: USFSRockyMtns/albums
Fire information line: (970) 930-1850
Media line: (970) 930-1089
Office hours: 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Email: 2020.grizzlycreek@firenet.gov

Grizzly Creek Fire at 25,000 acres

RMIMT: Pine Gulch Fire is at 81,107 acres

Pine Gulch Fire statistics:
Size:
81,107 acres
Containment: 7%
Total personnel: 754
Location: Approximately 18 miles north of Grand Junction, CO
Reported: July 31, approximately 5:15 p.m.
Cause: Lightning

Update: 8.16.20, 9 a.m. – Special notes: Because of an increase in fire behavior and the need for fire crews to work safely, two additional roads near the southwest side of the fire have been barricaded: the 21 Road northbound starting approximately three miles north of the BLM boundary, and the 16 Road northbound starting at the intersection of Coal Canyon Rd. (V 8/10 Rd.).

There will be a virtual public meeting livestreamed at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 17. More information will be posted on Facebook and Inciweb.

Current situation: The Pine Gulch Fire is now 81,107 acres. Yesterday, winds shifted and aligned with drainages, contributing to active fire behavior on the southwest side in Division D. Fire burned during the day and into the night, moving onto Garfield Mesa and crossing the V 8/10 Rd. Today, additional resources will arrive to this area, and crews will utilize road systems and handline to reduce fire spread to the south. While higher elevation winds will come from the NE and NW today, lower level winds may also come from the S/SW in Division D. As these winds come together, they have the potential to create eddying effects and contribute to significant fire behavior in Division D.

Today in Division E on the northwest side, crews will utilize control line and burning operations when possible to help keep fire south of the 204 Rd. and limit spread to the west and north. In Division K on the north, there is still heat at the fire’s edge. Firefighters will be securing this edge and will keep mopping up and securing structures along the 204 Rd. where the fire has already passed through. Firefighters are successfully utilizing Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in Division K to conduct strategic aerial ignitions in the evening and night; conditions are most appropriate during this time. Use of this equipment also helps minimize firefighter exposure and risk. On the east side in Division Z, there has been some containment (black line) added, and containment here is expected to increase in the coming days. The fire on the east and southeast (Divisions Z and A) has been hung up in rocks and natural features with no recent growth. Structures have been successfully secured and protected in this area. Crews will keep securing the fire’s edge and mop up completed containment lines in Divisions Z and A.

Two new Divisions, F and L, have been added to the northwest and north, respectively. Crews and heavy equipment operators in this area are scouting to identify potential dozer and hand lines as secondary control features in the case of any fire spread to the north or northeast. They are preparing the 209 and 207 Roads and assessing structures in this area.

Weather & fuel conditions: Today will be another hot and dry day, with temperatures up to 93 and humidity between 6-9%. Winds are forecast from the northeast at 5-8 mph with gusts to 12 mph, shifting to come from the north then northwest in the afternoon at 8-12 mph with gusts to 18. The atmosphere remains unstable, and the combination of low humidity, susceptible fuels and winds could contribute to active fire behavior and spread.

Closures and evacuations: Garfield County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation order for residents on Roan Creek (204) road, Clear Creek (211) road, Carr Creek (207) road and Brush Creek (209) road on Aug 9, 2020. Garfield County issued an evacuation order for residences on CR 202 on Saturday. For more information on evacuation orders, please visit https://garfieldcounty.net/. There is a road closure in effect on Roan Creek Road (204) at North Dry Fork (200) road; that closure is being staffed by a Sheriff’s deputy. The 21 Road northbound starting approximately three miles north of the BLM boundary, and the 16 Road northbound starting at the intersection of V 8/10 Rd are now barricaded.

Air quality: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for points east of the Pine Gulch and Grizzly Creek fires. A smoke outlook for the Pine Gulch Fire is available where this update is posted and at https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/WesternColorado. Continued widespread smoke from the Pine Gulch fire will impact many parts of Colorado Sunday morning into Sunday night.

Areas affected downwind from the fires include Craig and Meeker to the north, along the I-70 corridor in central Colorado, and as far east as the Front Range region and eastern plains. This will bring periods of smoke rated as ‘moderate’ to levels ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ levels to areas northeast of the fire including Garfield County, Moffat County, Mesa County, and Rio Blanco County. Brief periods of heavy smoke will also be possible. For more information on smoke levels, please visit https://airnow.gov.

Emergency alerts: Both Mesa and Garfield counties have emergency alert systems to alert citizens – by cell or landline phone – about emergencies, evacuations, and other important community news. To sign up for alerts in Garfield County, please visit garco911.com. For Mesa County alerts, please visit bit.ly/Emergency_Alerts.

Temporary flight restrictions: A Temporary Flight Restriction is in place over the Pine Gulch Fire. Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Whenever a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we
can be sure the drone is clear of the area. For more information, visit http://knowbeforeyoufly.org.

For more information:
Information office: (970) 628-0130, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Media inquiries: (970) 812-3706, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Email: 2020.PineGulch@firenet.gov
Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6906/
Facebook: https://facebook.com/PineGulchFireCO
Interactive fire map: https://arcg.is/W0izr
Smoke outlook: https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/WesternColorado
Resources include: 4 Type 1 hand crews, 6 Type 2 hand crews, 9 helicopters, 57 engines, 8 bulldozers, 17 water tenders, and
overhead/support personnel.

RMIMT: Pine Gulch Fire is at 81,107 acres

Grizzly Creek Fire at 25,007 acres

Grizzly Creek Fire statistics, 8.16.20, 10:58 a.m.:
Size: 25,007 acres
Start date:  Aug. 10
Location: Glenwood Canyon
Containment: 0%

Resources:
Hand crews:
15
Helicopters: 13
Engines: 32
Water tenders: 7
Dozers: 4
Feller bunchers and other logging equipment
Total personnel: 625  

InciWeb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6942/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GrizzlyCreekFireCO
Twitter: @fire_grizzly
Fire information line: (970) 930-1850
Office hours: 7 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Email: 2020.grizzlycreek@firenet.gov

Yesterday’s activity: Skies were clear early in the day as the inversion lifted causing higher temperatures and a more active fire. By mid-afternoon the fire on the north flank made a run from Grizzly Creek to Coffee Pot Road. The fire did spot across the road, but firefighters were able to catch it as the fuel types transitioned from timber to sage. Spot fires from the previous night grew together and moved towards Bair Ranch. Dozer line around Bair Ranch and structure protection measures, were successful in holding back the fire resulting in no loss of structures. Fire on the southeast edge is holding just shy of Spruce ridge. Heavy smoke in late afternoon was due to the fire pushing between the Deadman Canyon and Devil’s Hole Canyon. The fire has moved to the canyon rim and is holding. Activity in the No Name area was quiet as the containment lines held and crews worked to bring in water with hose lays and aerial water drops.

Today’s activity: Firefighters will continue implementing structure protection measures around the gondola at Adventure Park and will move north to Transfer Trail with heavy equipment building indirect line. Crews will work to keep fire south of Coffee Pot Road by constructing and reinforcing control lines. Crews will engage the fire where they safely can. Direct attack of the fire has been difficult due to the rugged and steep terrain. Firefighters will hold and improve line construction as fire comes out of deep canyons. At this time the fire is held up on Spruce Ridge, however, there are stringers of heavy timber that are concerning. Contingency line to the east will be implemented by heavy equipment. Today heavy air tankers will be shared with the Pine Gulch Fire. Daily operations video updates will be posted on the Grizzly Creek Fire facebook page. Maps and other information will also be posted on inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6942/

Evacuations: Please go to Garfield County website at www.Garfield-county.com and Eagle County at www.ecemergency.org, as well as on official Facebook

Road closures:

I-70 continues to be closed between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum, with no estimated time for reopening. Forest Service Road 400, Eagle-Thomasville Road, is closed due to excessive traffic and accidents resulting from drivers attempting to use this primarily dirt road as an alternate to the I-70 closure. Cottonwood Pass Road in Garfield and Eagle counties. Coffee Pot Road, Transfer Trail and Clinetop Mesa roads and areas of the Flattops accessed by those roads are also closed, as well as many surrounding White River National Forest and BLM roads. For more information regarding road closures: www.cotrip.org

Area closures: BLM recreation sites and boat ramps on the southern portion of the Colorado River Road (RD 301) near Dotsero, Colorado. Specifically, Cottonwood Landing boat ramp, Lyons campground and boat ramp, and Dotsero boat ramp.

Fire restrictions: Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in place for all jurisdictions. https://colorado.gov/pacific/dfpc/fire-restriction-information

A temporary flight restriction is in place over the fire area. If you fly, we can’t Facebook.

Grizzly Creek Fire at 25,007 acres

Pine Gulch Fire at 73,381 acres

Pine Gulch Fire Statistics:
Size: 73,381 acres
Containment: 7%
Total personnel: 794
Location: Approximately 18 miles north of Grand Junction, CO
Reported: July 31, approximately 5:15 p.m.
Cause: Lightning

Resources include: 3 Type 1 hand crews, 7 Type 2 hand crews, 6 helicopters, 57 engines, 4 bulldozers, 17 water tenders, and overhead/support personnel

Pine Gulch Fire Update,  August 14, 2020 – 10 a.m. –

Current situation: An overnight mapping flight measured the Pine Gulch Fire, which is burning 18 miles north of Grand Junction, at 73,381 acres and it remains 7 % contained. Operations today will focus on monitoring/patrolling and improving previously constructed fire lines, as well as scouting additional options in anticipation of afternoon winds out of the northwest. Burnout operations will take place only if fire behavior dictates, especially in areas closest to values at risk. Bulldozers and hand crews will continue to work the northern edge and along 204 Road on the east side.

The northwestern edge in Division E was the most active yesterday, and crews will continue to work on securing the fire line and tying in to the Division K line that has been holding well along 204 Rd. Division Z has been fairly quiet over the past several days, but afternoon winds may cause increased activity in that area. Structure protection crews will be out developing plans for areas southeast of the fire perimeter. Night shift made good progress in securing additional line overnight.

Special note: The Rocky Mountain Type 1 Incident Management Team (IMT), with Dan Dallas as Incident Commander, assumed command of the Pine Gulch Fire this morning at 6 a.m. The team would like to acknowledge the great work that was done by Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Black and wish them safe travels home.

Weather & fuel conditions: Temperatures are expected to remain in the upper 80s with relative humidities still in the single digits. Winds should be lighter today but will be out of the west/northwest this afternoon. Down valley winds will be at 7-10 mph with gusts up to 15 mph. Afternoon winds should moderate fire activity in the W/NW areas of the fire but could create increased fire behavior to the E/SE in the afternoon.

Closures and evacuations: Garfield County Sheriff’s Office issued an evacuation order for residents on Roan Creek (204) road, Clear Creek (211) road, Carr Creek (207) road and Brush Creek (209) road on Sunday night. Garfield County issued an evacuation order for residences on CR 202 on Saturday. For more information on evacuation orders, please visit https://garfieldcounty.net/. There is a road closure in effect on Roan Creek Road (204) at North Dry Fork (200) road; that closure is being staffed by a sheriff’s deputy.

Air quality: Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for northern Mesa County, and central and eastern Garfield County. A smoke outlook for the Pine Gulch Fire is available where this update is posted and at https://fires.airfire.org/outlooks/WesternColorado. Continued widespread smoke from the Pine Gulch fire will impact many parts of Colorado on Wednesday. Areas affected downwind from the fires North to Meeker, along the I-70 corridor, and as far east as the Front Range region and the eastern plains. This will bring periods of mainly ‘moderate’ to ‘unhealthy for sensitive groups’ levels of smoke to areas northeast of the fire including Garfield County and Rio Blanco County, however brief periods of heavy smoke will also be possible. For more information on smoke levels, please visit https://airnow.gov.

Emergency alerts: Both Mesa and Garfield counties have emergency alert systems to alert citizens – by cell or land line phone – about emergencies, evacuations, and other important community news. To sign up for alerts in Garfield County, please visit garco911.com. For Mesa County alerts, please visit bit.ly/Emergency_Alerts.

Temporary flight restrictions: A temporary flight restriction is in place over the Pine Gulch Fire. Wildfires are a No Drone Zone. If you fly, we can’t. Whenever a drone is spotted near the fire all aircraft are grounded until we can be sure the drone is clear of the area. For more information, visit http://knowbeforeyoufly.org.

Pine Gulch Fire at 73,381 acres

Grizzly Creek Fire grows to 13,441 acres

UPDATE 8.14.20 – 3:47 pm:

Glenwood Springs temporarily suspends non-emergency airport traffic at the Glenwood Springs Municipal Airport beginning Monday.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, CO – Effective Monday, August 10, the City of Glenwood Springs suspended all non emergency flights at the Glenwood Springs Airport until further notice. The Airport is being utilized for fire operations for the Grizzly Creek Fire.

The Airport will maintain essential administrative operations and all critical emergency medical, search and rescue, and fire emergency services.

UPDATE 8.14.20 – 3:35 pm:

Grizzly Creek Fire community meeting
Tonight 6 p.m.

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – The Grizzly Creek Fire Team will host a virtual FaceBook live community meeting tonight, Aug. 14, at 6 p.m. @GrizzlyCreekFireCO.

The meeting will also be live streamed from the Garfield County home page in English and in Spanish. To view the meeting from the Garfield County home page, click on links in the red box above the fire information.  

The community is invited to join in the discussion and ask questions of the fire team and local officials on Facebook.

Official fire information:
Current situation:
Yesterday the fire experienced rapid and erratic growth, challenging firefighters and prompting additional evacuations. The combination of dry vegetation, steep terrain, and the Red Flag conditions of hot, dry weather and gusty winds have continued to drive fire growth. On Thursday, the fire grew rapidly to the east towards Bair Ranch and southeast up Devil’s Hole Canyon. This resulted in an increase of acreage from 6,251 to 13,441 acres as of 10 p.m. Thursday when the fire was mapped. Firefighters were successful in keeping the fire held in the bottom of the No Name Drainage.

Today the fire will continue to be active as weather conditions remain hot and dry. Firefighting efforts will include structure protection in the areas of Spring Valley, High Aspen and Lookout Mountain, and continued structure protection efforts in the I-70 corridor from No Name to Shoshone Power Station, Bair Ranch and Dotsero.

Helicopters will have access to refill at a portable fire-retardant mixing station and tank, which is being set up on I-70 near No Name. An additional helibase has been established in Glenwood Springs.

Daily operations video updates will be posted on the Grizzly Creek Fire facebook page. Maps and other information will also be posted on inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6942/.

The team will host a virtual Facebook live community meeting tonight, Aug. 14, at 6 p.m.

Evacuations: Residents in communities around the Grizzly Creek Fire should stay aware of the fire’s dynamic changing conditions. Anytime evacuation notices change or areas move into pre-evacuation status, the information will be shared at the Garfield County website at www.garfield-county.com and Eagle County at www.eaglecounty.us/emergency, as well as on official Facebook accounts and local radio stations.

Residents are strongly encouraged to sign up for updates from their respective counties. In Garfield County, go to the Garfield County website and sign up for notifications at garco911.com. For residents of Eagle County, go to www.ecalert.org to sign up for notifications.

Road closures: I-70 continues to be closed between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum, with no estimated time for reopening. Forest Service Road 400, Eagle-Thomasville Road, is closed due to excessive traffic and accidents resulting from drivers attempting to use this primarily dirt road as an alternate to the I-70 closure. Cottonwood Pass Road in Garfield and Eagle counties and Independence Pass are closed. Coffee Pot Road, Transfer Trail and Clinetop Mesa roads and areas of the Flattops accessed by those roads are also closed, as well as many surrounding White River National Forest and BLM roads. For more information regarding road closures: https://www.codot.gov/travel.

Area closures: White River National Forest and the BLM Grand Junction Field Office

Fire restrictions: Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in place for all jurisdictions. Information is at https://colorado.gov/paci…/dfpc/fire-restriction-information

Temporary flight restrictions (TFR): Temporary flight restrictions are in place for the Grizzly Creek Fire. Flying drones in the area of the fire is illegal, as well as dangerous for the fire pilots.
#FireYear2020 #GrizzlyCreekFire

Grizzly Creek Fire grows to 13,441 acres