As Spring Creek Fire transitions to mop-up, new blaze taxes resources |

As Spring Creek Fire transitions to mop-up, new blaze taxes resources

While the Spring Creek Fire is now 70 percent contained, a new fire just three miles to the northwest is stretching firefighting resources in the area.

The East Meadow Fire, near Meadow Lake on the Flat Tops, has burned 68 acres. It was ignited July 8 by a lightning strike, said fire information officer Bud Ivey.

A 20-person firefighting crew from Rifle, the Alpine Hot Shots from Estes Park and one helicopter are assigned to the fire.

As of Monday morning, the Spring Creek Fire, eight miles north of New Castle, had expanded to 11,300 acres, chiefly through burnouts set by firefighters to contain the fire.

Cost of the firefighting effort rose to $6.4 million Sunday.

A total of 214 firefighters and support crews remain on the fire.

“There are not many folks in camp. Most of them are on the mountain” in spike camps, Ivey said. “We’ve finished burnout operations and are transitioning to mop-up.”

Two new hand crews arrived in camp Sunday, one from Michigan and one from Vermont.

Six helicopters, one bulldozer, six water tenders and two engines were also in use.

New fires are also burning on the Routt National Forest near Steamboat Springs.

The Hinman Fire, 23 miles north of Steamboat, has burned 1,675 acres and is 5 percent contained, according to information from the Craig Interagency Fire Dispatch Center.

Approximately 100 people are fighting the fire.

Trails and campgrounds in the area are closed, as is the Seedhouse Road.

A new fire was reported Sunday on the Routt National Forest. The Green Creek Fire, now at 500 acres, is about five miles north of Rabbit Ears Pass in the Sarvice Creek Wilderness Area.

Smokejumpers were dispatched to the fire but were pulled off later due to dangerous conditions.

The 880-acre Lost Lakes Fire is in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area 40 miles southwest of Steamboat Springs. It is 0 percent contained.

A number of national forest trails and roads have been closed due to the fires. They include: Black Mountain Trail, West Fork Trail, East Williams Fork Trail from Devil’s Causeway north, Transfer Trail, Baldy Mountain Trail, Lily Pond/Picket Pin Trail, Chinese Wall Trail from Devil’s Causeway to Ripple Creek Pass and Lost Lakes Trail.

The East Meadow Creek fire prompted forest supervisor Martha Ketelle to close Meadow Lake campground.

The Forest Service is also working with outfitters to remove camps in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area.

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