9/1 Grizzly Creek Fire update: Control lines held during Monday’s high winds, and no debris flows from nighttime rains | PostIndependent.com

9/1 Grizzly Creek Fire update: Control lines held during Monday’s high winds, and no debris flows from nighttime rains

Map of the Grizzly Creek Fire area showing containment lines in black, as of Sept. 1, 2020.
Courtesy U.S. Forest Service

Containment lines on the Grizzly Creek Fire held during Monday’s red-flag wind conditions, as firefighters were able to maintain the upper hand. As of Tuesday, the fire was 75% contained and did not grow in size, holding at 32,464 acres, according to the latest update from Incident Commander Norm McDonald.

The big concern Monday was strong afternoon wind gusts of up to 40 mph over parts of the fire, with the strongest winds between 8,000 – 11,000 feet, according to Incident Meteorologist Nathan Heinert.

“Winds at lower elevations and in valleys weren’t quite as strong,” he said. “A lot of the fire was protected, which is a good thing.”

Sixty of the approximately 80 miles of fire perimeter are now contained, according to the Tuesday morning update.

“Mother Nature provided a helping hand Monday night with a steady rain that dropped two-tenths of an inch of rain over most of the fire area,” according to the report. Fortunately, the rain wasn’t heavy enough to prompt any concerns about runoff or flash floods, Heinert said. 

Work continues to build a control line in the upper No Name and Grizzly Creek drainages. Three hotshot crews worked Monday to build hand line along the southwest of rim of Grizzly Creek, and fire managers are hoping to connect that line to No Name Creek today to secure the northwest edge of the fire.  

An unmanned aerial system (aka drone) was used to inspect the two drainages on Monday.

“They looked really good,” Alaska IMT Operations Section Chief Karen Scholl said. “They weren’t showing much heat at all.” 

There are currently 589 personnel on the fire, plus six dozers, six excavators and two chippers working to rehab lines in the areas of Coffee Pot Road, Bair Ranch, Red Canyon and No Name.

The Forest Service announced the fire was human caused at a Facebook Live community meeting held in Eagle on Monday. The investigation into the specific cause will continue.

Other alerts  

Interstate 70 remains open. Expect periodic delays for firefighting operations and possible flash floods in the event of heavy rain. Go to cotrip.org for information on interstate closures. 

Road/trail closures remain in effect for Coffee Pot Road, Transfer Trail Road and areas of the Flattops Wilderness accessed by those roads, as do many surrounding White River National Forest and BLM roads. For maps and closure info, go to White River NF closure area or BLM closure order and closure map

A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire. Go to https://tfr.faa.gov for details. 


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