Firefighters move into mop-up mode on Spring Creek blaze near New Castle |

Firefighters move into mop-up mode on Spring Creek blaze near New Castle

Firefighters are finished with burnouts on the Spring Creek Fire. Now they are mopping up, creating a 200-foot wide perimeter around the 13,500-acre fire, which is 80 percent contained.

Fire managers are keeping firefighters off some of the fire line because of the danger of falling trees, said Clint Trebesh, spokesman for the fire management team.

“The fire weakened the roots and base of the tree, but it may leave the top with greenery,” Trebesh said.

That leaves the tree top-heavy and likely to topple, he said.

Started June 22 from a lightning strike, the fire is six miles north of New Castle.

The firefighting effort involves 262 people, including four Hot Shot crews from Craig, Estes Park and California and three Type 2 crews from Rifle, Michigan and New England.

They are using five helicopters, two bulldozers, four water tenders, an excavator and four engines.

The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team, headed by Dave Sisk, took over management of the fire today from Bill Swope and the Western Montana IMT.

Spring Creek crews are sharing management and helicopters with crews fighting the East Meadow Creek Fire farther north in the Flat Tops.

That fire reached 95 acres Tuesday and is 50 percent contained.

Crews directed two helicopters to make water drops on the blaze to contain the south and east sides.

Trebesh said crews plan to do a small burnout on the fire’s north side today, weather permitting, using a meadow and the burnout to strengthen the northern line on the fire.

Because of the fire, the Meadow Lake Campground is closed.

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