Grizzly Creek Fire crosses into Eagle County, with no end in sight
The Grizzly Creek Fire saw more spread in the early hours of Friday, growing significantly to the east and northeast and crossing into Eagle County north of Interstate 70.
The fire just about doubled its acreage overnight, said incident commander Marty Adell.
The fire has touched down on I-70 in several different spots, requiring the freeway to remain closed. Visiting the incident command center in Eagle County on Friday, Gov. Jared Polis said he was hoping Interstate 70 will be able to reopen in two to three days as crews continue to battle the blaze.
Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, in a Facebook Live dispatch on Friday evening, said he was hopeful that Polis’ assessment was correct, but in the meantime, officials are working on a credential system to get workers through the canyon.
The credential system would be “limited to essential folks including first responders, law enforcement, medical personnel, people in those categories,” Vallario said.
Evacuation orders remain in place in Garfield County for the areas south of the Colorado River on the south side of the blaze, including the Lookout Mountain, Homestead Estates, Spring Valley Ranch, High Aspen Ranch, Colter Meadow and No Name communities.
In Eagle County, Coffee Pot Road, Buck Point Drive and any of the houses to the west of Dotsero and the Colorado River Road are under evacuation orders. While the Sweetwater Road area of Eagle County was downgraded from evacuation to pre-evacuation status on Friday, the entire community of Dotsero has also been added to the pre-evacuation list.
Anyone under pre-evacuation orders “should be packed, have their vehicles packed, and be prepared to go on a moment’s notice,” said Eagle County Sheriff James Van Beek.
Miles from Gypsum
Van Beek said while the fire is still miles from Gypsum, people there should familiarize themselves with the “Ready, Set, Go!” initiative.
Eagle County Wildfire Mitigation Manager Eric Lovgren describes the initiative as follows:
Ready: Take personal responsibility and prepare long before the threat of a wildfire so your home is ready in case of a fire. Create defensible space by clearing brush away from your home. Use fire-resistant landscaping and harden your home with fire-safe construction measures. Assemble emergency supplies and belongings in a safe spot. Make sure all residents residing within the home are on the same page, plan escape routes.
Set: Act immediately. Pack your vehicle with your emergency items. Stay abreast of the latest alerts. Sign up at http://www.ECAlert.org for emergency notification.
Go: Leave early! Following your action plan makes you prepared at this step of the process. Firefighters are now able to best maneuver the wildfire and ensure you and your family’s safety.
In addition to ECAlert.org, Van Beek also recommended people visit ECemergency.org for interactive maps that show the directions the fire is headed, spread levels, as well as evacuation areas and pre-evacuation areas.
The American Red Cross of Colorado has opened an evacuation center at Battle Mountain High school in Edwards to assist residents who have been evacuated because of the Grizzly Creek Fire, according to the fire command center. Red Cross volunteers are ready to accommodate anyone needing information or other assistance. They will also have access to emergency supplies and support.
Additional recreation sites and boat ramps in Eagle County were closed on Friday, including the Cottonwood Landing Boat Ramp, the Lyons Campground and Boat Ramp, and the Dotsero Boat Ramp. In Garfield County, the major recreational site of Hanging Lake will remain closed indefinitely, although the main hiking area and boardwalk appear to have been spared.
“This fire will continue to burn for some time,” Adell said. “It is very difficult to put people in front of it, with the active fire.”
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