Flat Tops fires: minor out, major quiet | PostIndependent.com

Flat Tops fires: minor out, major quiet

Crews have extinguished two minor fires in the Flat Tops, while two large fires have grown little in size in recent days.

The Sawmill and Shadow fires near Buford were fully contained Friday, and are now out, according to Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management.

The Sawmill Fire reached 10 acres in size, and the Shadow Fire grew to only a quarter acre. Both were started by lightning last Thursday, about six miles south of Buford, and east of the Buford-New Castle Road.

The fires cost $150,000 to fight.

Meanwhile, more than $1.2 million has been spent managing the Big Fish and Lost Lakes fires, 45 miles east of Meeker.

The Big Fish Fire remains at about 15,800 acres, and the Lost Lakes Fire is at 5,184 acres. Crews are not fighting the fires, instead letting them burn in keeping with a 1995 plan to let fire play its natural role in the Flat Tops Wilderness ecosystem.

Loss of the Trappers Lake Lodge may add as much as $500,000 to the costs of the fire. The lodge itself and eight other structures were lost Aug. 19 when the Big Fish Fire advanced more rapidly than expected. Crews couldn’t put structure protection into place before they were forced to retreat.

Lodge owner Dan Stogsdill hopes to rebuild before the end of the year.

The Big Fish and Lost Lakes fires remain somewhat active. Crown and spot fires have occurred between Paradise and Big Fish creeks, and smoldering and isolated tree torching have been observed on the Lost Lakes Fire. Fire is expected to continue to move toward Pyramid Peak in the Paradise and Big Fish Creek areas.

The recent fire activity has been occurring within the current fire perimeters. However, moderate to substantial growth is still possible for both fires, according to authorities.

Some forest areas and trails remain closed due to the fires. Also, a bridge construction project is forcing the temporary closure of the Trappers Lake Campground.

The project was planned earlier this season, prior to the fires, to repair the bridge across the north fork of the White River on the Trappers Lake Road just past the lodge.

The project will result in vehicle access to the campground being blocked from Monday, Sept. 8, until the scheduled completion date of Oct. 10.

All vehicles must be moved back west of the Trappers Lake Lodge area. Any vehicles not moved will be stranded until the work is completed.

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