Grizzly Creek Fire Update: Fire at 32,464 acres, 73% containment
A passing storm that quickly generated wind gusts of 40 mph heightened concern on the fireline Sunday. Crews were pulled off the line at 2 p.m. due to the sudden turn in the weather.
The hour-long wind event, which threatened to topple fire-weakened trees and was accompanied by lightning, created a dicey situation for firefighters. Fortunately, no incidents or injuries were reported and firefighters were able to return to the line about an hour later after the storm passed.
Containment lines held strong, with acreage (32,464 acres) and containment (73%) holding steady. Lines will be challenged again today as another weather system moves in, bringing with it “near critical fire weather conditions,” according to Incident Meteorologist Nathan Heinert. Another round of 40 mph wind gusts are forecast, with relative humidities dropping into the teens, producing drier conditions that could produce flare ups.
“If we get any spotting or flare ups, we’ll have personnel in the appropriate places to take action,” said Operations Planning Section Chief Karen Scholl with the Alaska Incident Management Team. “We have safety zones for firefighters identified if we need them.”
Fire managers employed a familiar strategy on Sunday, focusing efforts on an uncontained edge on the fire’s northwest corner in the No Name and Grizzly Creek drainages, about 10 miles northeast of Glenwood Springs. Three hotshot crews are working to connect two sections of open line – one working north along No Name Creek and the other two working back toward them from Grizzly Creek. Elsewhere around the fire, crews continued to seek and destroy hot spots. Crews are also still trying to secure a rugged, twisty stretch of uncontained line on the south side of the fire near Green Lake. Crews have secured approximately 60 of the 80 miles of containment line and mop-up operations are ongoing.
Crews, assisted by a growing fleet of heavy equipment, continue rehabilitating lines along Coffee Pot Road north of Interstate 70. Crews began pulling excess equipment from contained areas to the north and south.
Interstate 70 remains open. Expect periodic delays for power line and utility repair, firefighting operations and flash floods in the event of heavy rain.
Road closures remain in effect for Coffee Pot Road, Transfer Trail Road and areas of the Flattops accessed by those roads, as do many surrounding White River National Forest and BLM roads. Go to http://www.cotrip.org for info.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire. Go to https://tfr.faa.gov.
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