Containment expected in Clark Creek Fire in Flat Tops |

Containment expected in Clark Creek Fire in Flat Tops

The Clark Creek Fire burning in the Flat Tops north of Rifle was expected to be 100 percent contained by Tuesday evening, according to a final update on the incident from White River National Forest officials.

The lightning-caused fire was first called in late Sunday, burning near the New Castle-Buford Road in the Triangle Park area 14 miles north of Rifle. Firefighters and aviation resources responded immediately with numerous water bucket drops, while hand crews built a containment line.

“The combined effort of air attack and hand crews on the ground has been a successful strategy for suppressing the fire,” the agency said in a news release.

Helicopter activity was to continue through the day Tuesday. Four engines, a hot shot crew and a hand crew were still on scene.

The fire has held steady at about 5 acres since Monday morning.

“Members of the public who are recreating in the area may still see wisps of smoke from the interior or the fire and may still smell smoke,” the Forest Service release advised. “Crews will patrol and monitor the fire over the course of several days to ensure containment.”

Meanwhile, firefighters continued efforts Tuesday to suppress the Gutzler Fire, which as of Tuesday midday was burning on about 300 acres between Kremmling and State Bridge. Some spotting occurred on private land to the east, forest officials said in a separate release.

Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit managers are coordinating with adjacent private land owners and Eagle County. Hotshot crews are building containment lines by hand.

Indications are that the cause of the fire was from a lightning strike that was smoldering since the last week in June, according to the statement.

The Bureau of Land Management issued a temporary emergency closure of the Radium campground and boat launch due to fire operations in the area. There are no other evacuations or official closures in place at this time.

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