Spring Creek crews burn out line to protect Canyon Creek | PostIndependent.com

Spring Creek crews burn out line to protect Canyon Creek

Thursday firefighters completed a burnout on the southeastern flank of the Spring Creek Fire planned for the previous day. Wednesday high winds and thunderstorms forced aircraft and hand crews off the fire.

As of Thursday evening, the fire was 38 percent contained and had not spread since yesterday, remaining at 7,900 acres. A total of 408 personnel including 20 10-person hand crews are on the fire. A cost estimate was not available.

What little rain fell in Glenwood Springs Wednesday evening did not reach the Spring Creek Fire, said fire information officer Bud Ivey.

But firefighting efforts gained ground Thursday.

“At 9 a.m. we started the burnout, and reports were it went very well,” he said.

Two hot shot crews conducted the burnout to consume flammable material between a newly placed dozer line and the fire line itself, to reduce the chance of the fire reaching Canyon Creek.

“We used air tankers to pretreat the burnout and then the hot shots fired the burn,” Ivey said.

Air tankers laid down fire retardant outside the dozer line to stop the fire if it jumped the line.

“When it’s burned out then the line is strengthened,” he said.

While the winds were relatively quiet Thursday, they began to pick up in the late afternoon.

“They’re getting a little squirrely,” Ivey said late Thursday afternoon.

A Type 3 helicopter transporting crews was forced to make an emergency landing when a compressor stalled. There were no injuries.

Also on Thursday, support crew were treated to a Fourth of July celebration. The Burning Mountain Pageant contestants brought thank-you posters to the firefighters, Ivey said.

“They’ll return tonight at 7:30 for a performance,” he said.

The incident command team will also contribute to the festivities. Ivey said there are some “crack people” on the crew who will perform precision lawn chair drills.

Watermelon, a sing-along and movies were also planned, Ivey said.

“We’re trying to do up the Fourth as best we can,” he said.

White River National Forest trails near New Castle and Glenwood Springs remain closed. They include No Name and Mitchell Creek trails near Glenwood Springs and Transfer Trail four-wheel-drive road.

Grizzly Creek Trail is now open.

Near New Castle, the Spring Creek, East Elk, Hadley Gulch and Boiler Springs trails are closed. The East Elk, Spring Hill, Cline Top roads and Forest Road 601 and 640 are all closed.

A fire ban in the White River National Forest is in effect. No open flames are allowed. Camp stoves, lanterns and heating devices must meet fire underwriters specifications for safety.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to close its disaster recovery center at 1317 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs, Saturday, July 6. The center will be open today from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (See story page A8.)

No information was available about the Coal Seam Fire Thursday.

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