Flat Tops fire moving toward 100 percent containment | PostIndependent.com

Flat Tops fire moving toward 100 percent containment

The Clark Creek Fire burning in the Flat Tops north of Rifle is at 80 percent containment and expected to be 100 percent contained by this evening, according to White River National Forest officials.

The lightning-caused fire was first called in late Sunday. 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 today, and four engines, a hot shot crew and a hand crew remain 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 release advised. “Crews will patrol and monitor the fire over the course of several days to ensure containment.”

Meanwhile, firefighters continued efforts today to suppress the Gutzler Fire, which is now burning on about 300 acres between Kremmling and State Bridge. Some spotting has 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.

“Yesterday, we got a better idea of what the fire behavior is like in this dense timber stand which is affected by beetle-kill,” District Ranger Aaron Mayville said in the release. “Due to the fuel-loading, conditions, and our focus on firefighter safety, we anticipate this fire will be with us for a little while.”

Indications are that the cause of the fire is from a lightning strike that was smoldering since the last week in June, he said.

The Bureau of Land Management has 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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