UPDATE: Grizzly Creek Fire grows to 3,200 acres, evacuations still in place for No Name, Lookout Mountain | PostIndependent.com

UPDATE: Grizzly Creek Fire grows to 3,200 acres, evacuations still in place for No Name, Lookout Mountain

A man watches and takes photos of the Grizzly Creek Fire as it blows up in No Name Canyon on Aug. 11 after the fire initially started on Interstate 70 on Aug. 10 at MM 120.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

UPDATE 8:15 p.m. Tuesday — Additional evacuations and closures have been ordered on the Eagle County side of the Grizzly Creek Fire.

Cottonwood Pass is now closed to all through traffic in both Eagle and Garfield counties, and the Coulter Creek area has been ordered by the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office to evacuate.

UPDATE 7 p.m. Tuesday — The Grizzly Creek Fire has grown to 3,200 acres, and now involves 211 personnel and a barrage of air tankers and helicopters to fight what has become the highest priority fire in the nation.

Interstate 70 remains closed through the night Tuesday, with the possibility of an extended closure through the week, the Colorado Department of Transportation is advising.

“Hot, dry weather combined with dry fuels and a windy afternoon pushed the Grizzly Creek Fire in multiple directions,” the latest press release from incident command stated at 7 p.m. “The fire crossed the Colorado River and Interstate 70 this afternoon, establishing itself on the south side.”

Within the canyon most of the firefighting effort took place from the air. Air support includes two Very Large Air Tankers (VLAT), multiple Large Air Tankers, four heavy helicopters and one medium helicopter 

“Firefighters are conducting preparation work in the evacuated communities and Shoshone Power Plant, evaluating structures and helping create defensible space where practical,” according to the Tuesday night news release.

Firefighters also observed the Flattops area above the fire, scouting possible containment areas and clearing any campers or other recreationists from the area. U.S Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands surrounding the fire area are currently closed.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.  

UPDATE 4:20 p.m. Tuesday — The city of Glenwood Springs has shut off the No Name water diversion source and is pumping water from the Roaring Fork River pump station due to the Grizzly Creek Fire.

“This is out of an abundance of caution to protect the water supply from fire retardant being used on the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon,” according to a city press release. “Residents are asked to refrain from watering lawns for the next 48 hours. Additional restrictions may be issued later.”

Residents of the unincorporated No Name neighborhood, which has been evacuated, are also advised not to drink water, as their system has been switched over to the creek water, neighborhood association board member Sherry Caloia said.

“We have notified everybody, but we want to make sure people don’t drink the water because it is untreated,” she said. The No Name system serves about 80 residential units situated along the river bend south of the No Name exit on I-70.  

The city has notified large water users in the area and restricted consumption and residents are being asked to conserve water used for irrigation, according to the city’s release.

“Glenwood Springs water consumers may notice a slight change in taste due to the change in water source to the Roaring Fork River.”

The city operates a community water supply system that supplies drinking water to 9,614 residents, and obtains its drinking water from three surface water intakes in the Colorado River watershed.  

For more information on the city’s water sources and source protection plans please visit: http://www.ci.glenwood-springs.co.us/196/Water

This Grizzly Creek Fire area map from earlier Tuesday afternoon shows the main fire area north of I-70 in Glenwood Canyon. It does not show the more-recent progression to the south toward Lookout Mountain.

En Espanol

Se pide a los residentes que se abstengan de regar el césped durante las próximas 48 horas.

De una abundancia de precaución, la ciudad de Glenwood Springs ha cortado la fuente de desvío de agua de Sin nombre y comenzó a bombear agua de la estación de bombeo roaring Fork River para proteger el suministro de agua de retardante de fuego que se utiliza en el Grizzly Creek Fire. Es posible que se emitan restricciones adicionales más adelante.

Los consumidores de agua de Glenwood Springs pueden notar un ligero cambio en el sabor debido al cambio en la fuente de agua del río Roaring Fork.

Para obtener más información sobre las fuentes de agua de la ciudad y los planes de protección de fuentes, visite: http://www.ci.glenwood-springs.co.us/196/Water 

UPDATE 2:30 p.m. Tuesday — The Grizzly Creek Fire Incident Command has reported that the fire is moving uphill on the south side of the Colorado River. The command has expanded evacuation notices to include the residents of Lookout Mountain as well as a pre-evacuation of Bair Ranch.

UPDATE 1 p.m. Tuesday — The Grizzly Creek Fire Incident Command has directed an evacuation notice for the residents of No Name. The Glenwood Springs Community Center is the emergency relocation point and shelter at this time, according to the latest from the fire command.

The fire has grown to an estimated 1,832 acres, as of the latest aerial mapping.

UPDATE 12 p.m. Tuesday — The Interstate 70 safety closure remains in effect until further notice to allow Colorado Department of Transportation crews to assess two bridges located near where the Grizzly Creek Fire started on Monday.

There is also now increased rockfall hazard in Glenwood Canyon.

“Both assessments are taking place today. Rockfall has been reported and is likely due to burned vegetation no longer holding rocks in place,” CDOT advised in a late morning press release. 

Traffic is still advised to take detour routes to the south via U.S. 50, 24 and 285, and to the north via U.S. 40 and Colorado 139 or 13.

“CDOT has paused some construction projects to allow for detour traffic,” according to the release. 

The Grizzly Creek Fire as seen from a high point on Transfer Trail. Videos by Chelsea Self

Stay off Cottonwood and Independence passes

Cottonwood Pass between Garfield and Eagle counties was closed Tuesday morning after a semi overturned around 3 a.m. when the driver attempted to navigate the steep, narrow, dirt road.

Eagle County Emergency Management Director Birch Barron advised county commissioners in a morning briefing that when Cottonwood Pass reopens only smaller vehicles capable of maneuvering the tight roadway should attempt the route.

“And you can expect some serious traffic,” he said.

CDOT says to avoid Cottonwood Pass altogether, except for local traffic only.

“CDOT asks that motorists not use Cottonwood Pass or Independence Pass as detour routes, as these roads are not built for heavy traffic or commercial oversize vehicles,” CDOT said in its latest release.

Vehicles over 35 feet in length, including semi-tractor trailers, are prohibited on Independence Pass at any time. The restriction also includes a vehicle and trailer that, together, exceed 35 feet, CDOT advises.

UPDATE 10:30 a.m. Tuesday — More than 120 firefighters are now working the Grizzly Creek Fire, with more resources on the way, according to the latest update from the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management command.

“Firefighters are working to keep the fire out of the No Name drainage as well as on the north side of the Colorado River,” according to the latest post. “Terrain is very rugged, limiting where we can safely put firefighters on the ground.

“Crews are focusing on point protection in the No Name area on the west side, including accessing structures and prepping areas should the fire reach the area.”

The No Name area remains on pre-evacuation notice, and residents are asked to be prepared to leave in the event the fire moves in that direction.

Firefighting crews are also working on point protection in the Shoshone area to the east of the fire. Aircraft continues to be work the fire from above.

Firefighters are scouting areas for containment lines on top in the Flattops, and evacuating campers and other recreationists from the Coffee Pot Road area and other areas in the Forest Service closure area north of the fire.

The fire is still reported to be at 1,300 acres, but a more accurate acreage estimate was expected after a morning mapping flight.

“We expect fire activity to increase as the day warms and the humidity drops,” according to the latest Facebook update.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon is to remain closed in both directions between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum until further notice due to the Grizzly Creek firefighting efforts.

“We will have more information after morning briefings. We do not have an estimated time for reopening,” according to a Tuesday morning post to the official incident Facebook page.

Regular fire updates will be posted there, and the latest on the I-70 closures and suggested alternate routes can be found at http://www.cotrip.org.

The Colorado Department of Transportation advises that the backcountry Cottonwood Pass dirt road is not to be used as a bypass. The I-70 closure is also intended to allow for inspection of the elevated westbound section where the fire burned, and to check for rockfall hazards within the fire area.

“The fire was active last night,” the latest post announced. “The community of No Name is under pre-evacuation, which means residents should be ready to evacuate.”

The fire started at about 1:30 p.m. Monday in the median between the eastbound and the elevated westbound lanes near the Grizzly Creek rest area and hiking trail, five miles east of Glenwood Springs. It involved about 60 firefighters and numerous aircraft.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

En Espanol

I-70 Glenwood Canyon estará cerrado por la noche. Puede entrar y salir de Glenwood Springs hacia downvalley, pero no puede entrar en Glenwood Canyon, incluidos No Name, Grizzly Creek y Bair Ranch.

El CDOT solicita a los automovilistas que planifiquen que la I-70 en Glenwood Canyon se cierre durante la noche el lunes 10 de agosto. El cierre de seguridad es para permitir que los especialistas del CDOT evalúen dos puentes ubicados cerca de donde comenzó el incendio de Grizzly Creek, como así como un mayor riesgo de caída de rocas en Glenwood Canyon.

Se ha informado de un aumento de la caída de rocas y probablemente se deba a que la vegetación quemada ya no mantiene las rocas en su lugar.

El CDOT pide que los automovilistas * no * usen Cottonwood Pass como un desvío, debido a la actividad de los incendios.Los autobuses de RFTA están funcionando.

Residentes de Eagle y Gypsum: esta noche cierre sus ventanas si es posible.

Envíe un correo electrónico a GrizzlyCreekFire@gmail.com si tiene preguntas.

El sitio web para obtener más información es: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6942/

El página de Facebook es: https://www.facebook.com/GrizzlyCreekFireCO/

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