Lake Christine Fire tops 10,000 acres after burning through beetle-kill areas
Fire crews work to protect Cattle Creek structures; community meeting Sunday night
The Lake Christine Fire grew by more than 1,500 acres Saturday after moving into heavy beetle-kill areas and is at 10,406 acres, according to Sunday morning’s update from the command team.
The fire, which started July 3, was reported at 8,800 acres Saturday morning and continues to burn to the north, sending a large column of smoke into the sky all day Saturday. The column could be seen from Independence Pass and down the valley.
“The fire has pushed predominantly to the north, creating new spot fires short distances ahead of the fire and establishing in thick stands of heavy mixed conifer,” the Sunday morning update said. “As the fire moves toward Cattle Creek, it is transitioning from thick timber fuels to aspen and Gambel oak.”
There is a community meeting set for Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Basalt High School for incident team updates on the fire. Eagle County officials will hold a meeting after that to discuss possible flooding concerns.
“The fire’s progression at this point is down to the Cattle Creek Road” and to the north, Rob Berger, Operations Section Chief with Rocky Mountain Team Black said in a video update Sunday morning. “We’ve had reports from our folks on the ground this morning that all the structures are in really good shape and the fire is actually moderating in its burning intensity and is backing down hill towards the road. It puts us in a good spot to be able to action on that fire later on this morning when we get more resources in the area.”
Paul Duarte, operations section chief of the Rocky Mountain Team Black, said Saturday night that there were cabins in the Cattle Creek area and air teams dropped fire retardant in the area. Ground crews also worked Saturday to add sprinklers in the area and trimmed vegetation for a more defensible space, the update said.
In the northwest area where the fire is most active, hand crews, heavy equipment and aviation resources were used Saturday “to improve and extend direct containment line.” Predominantly western winds have helped in that area, the incident team said, and direct containment lines there were held despite increased fire activity.
“One thing that is really important to remember is that all of the containment line that we’ve established up to this point is all still intact,” Duarte said Saturday evening. “There has been no loss of containment line, but you’re going to see a loss in the percentage of containment due to the fact that we’ve had growth up in (the northeast area) today.”
Containment was listed at 32 percent Sunday morning, which was a drop from 59 percent late last week. There are 320 personnel working the fire.
Temperatures will be more moderate Sunday, officials predict, and slow moving afternoon thunderstorms may produce outflow gusts and some wetting rain.
“There is a potential for flash flooding in burned areas if these storms produce significant rainfall,” the update warns.
This is a developing story that will be updated.