Rapidly growing wildfire in Routt County prompts pre-evac warnings | PostIndependent.com

Rapidly growing wildfire in Routt County prompts pre-evac warnings

Steamboat Pilot
Fire crews get a briefing Monday about a blaze near Steamboat Springs.
Steamboat Pilot

Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies were going door-to-door Monday afternoon to let about 30 households in West Routt County know they should be prepared to flee a rapidly growing wildfire.

The Deep Creek Fire, initially referred to at the Steer Park Fire, grew from 2 acres to 419 acres in only a few hours Monday near the Wolf Mountain Ranch between Milner and Hayden.

The blaze — which officials said might have resulted from a reignition of a wildfire started last week by a suspected lightning strike — was discovered about noon.

Deputies gave pre-evacuation notices to residents who were within a 5-mile radius of the fire along Routt County Road 52.

At 6 p.m. the fire was burning less than a mile from structures at Wolf Mountain Ranch.

A heavy air tanker dropped retardant on a ridge a few miles from the ranch as firefighters worked to guard nearby structures.

Routt County Sheriff’s Office deputies were going door-to-door Monday afternoon to let about 30 households in West Routt County know they should be prepared to flee a rapidly growing wildfire.

The Deep Creek Fire, initially referred to at the Steer Park Fire, grew from 2 acres to 419 acres in only a few hours Monday near the Wolf Mountain Ranch between Milner and Hayden.

The blaze — which officials said might have resulted from a reignition of a wildfire started last week by a suspected lightning strike — was discovered about noon.

Deputies gave pre-evacuation notices to residents who were within a 5-mile radius of the fire along Routt County Road 52.

At 6 p.m. the fire was burning less than a mile from structures at Wolf Mountain Ranch.

A heavy air tanker dropped retardant on a ridge a few miles from the ranch as firefighters worked to guard nearby structures.

DeMorat pointed to a tree that was on fire about three quarters of a mile from the command post and noted that was the location the firefighters had staged earlier.

“This thing grew really fast on us,” he said.

He said a combination of wind, terrain and dry conditions fueled the flames and sent the fire southeast,

Firefighters from Hayden, Steamboat Springs and Oak Creek were all on scene by Monday afternoon.

A helicopter and other resources that were fighting the Big Red Fire in North Routt County also were called to help attack the new blaze.

DeMorat said the fire is burning in the same location as the initial Steer Park wildfire, which was was discovered about a week earlier.

Officials are investigating whether the fire that blew up Monday was a reignition of that fire, which is believed to have been caused by a lightning strike.

DeMorat urged Routt County residents who haven’t signed up for the new Everbridge emergency notification system to do so in the wake of the fire.

He said when the alert went out, only one residence within a 5-mile radius of the blaze was signed up and received the notification about the pre-evacuation.

DeMorat said it was likely about 30 residences in the area needed to receive the notification.

“It’s so critical when you get to this part of the county,” he said, noting how far apart residences were.

toward Wolf Mountain Ranch.


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