THURSDAY FIRE UPDATES: New Hanging Lake photos; Grizzly fire now at more than 29,700 acres, still 4% contained
UPDATE 5:15 p.m. Thursday — Crews responded Thursday afternoon to new activity on the Red Canyon Fire in upper Spring Valley, outside the Grizzly Creek Fire area.
“Smoke will be visible,” an afternoon post to the incident Facebook page advised.
En Espanol: Actividad del Red Canyon Fire a remontado este tarde. Recursos contra incendios de Grizzly Creek Fire están respondiendo. Humo sera visible.
UPDATE 2:50 p.m. Thursday — Here’s your daily operational update from Operations Section Chief Jeff Surber with the Great Basin Type 1 team:
UPDATE ON HANGING LAKE IMPACT — Grizzly Creek Fire crews had a chance Wednesday night to fly over the Hanging Lake area and came back with these aerial photos.
“You can see where the fire burned above the lake,” said David Boyd, public affairs officer for the White River National Forest in a Thursday email. “We know the fire burned through some of the lower trail, but we haven’t yet assessed how much it was impacted. We will share what we find out once we are able to do that.”
UPDATE 11 a.m. Thursday — The Grizzly Creek Fire burning in and on either side of Glenwood Canyon has now grown to 29,732 acres, based on aerial mapping on Wednesday, and remains at 4% containment, according to the Thursday morning update from the Great Basin Type 1 incident command team.
Interstate 70 remains closed through Glenwood Canyon due to the active fire situation, with no estimated time for reopening. The suggested detour for cross-state traffic is U.S. 50 from Grand Junction to Salida, and from the Front Range via U.S. Routes 285 and 24.
Crews working the Grizzly fire also provided air and ground support to fight the new Red Canyon Fire that broke out about six miles to the south in the upper Spring Valley area of Garfield County.
The fire triggered new evacuations for residents in the southeast part of the county, just outside the Grizzly Creek evacuation area.
“Initial attack by air and ground resources was mobilized, and the fire was held to approximately 60 acres,” according to the latest fires update. “All evacuations were lifted for the Red Canyon fire Wednesday evening.
Size: 29,732 acres
Start Date: Aug. 10
Location: Glenwood Canyon
Cause: Under investigation
Hand Crews: 20
Water Tenders: 7
Dozers: 12 (plus feller bunchers and other logging equipment)
Total Personnel: 820
Also, Buck Point residents effected by the Grizzly Fire were downgraded from evacuation to pre-evacuation status.
“Yesterday, the weather over the fire had some precipitation with lightning,” incident command also noted.
Watch as the incident Meteorologist Matt Jeglum explains:
On the No Name Creek side, the fire was still moving at the top of the drainage, and also active along the east edge of Grizzly Creek.
“Fire line along Transfer Trail to Windy Point neared completion. On the north west side of the fire, additional mechanized equipment was brought in to bolster efforts there. Fire is beginning to reach the tops of the drainages to the north east, where it can be actively engaged.”
The Lookout Mountain are near Glenwood Springs saw minimal fire progression. That area is being evaluated for contingency lines, according to fire command.
Today’s weather calls for lightning storms, plus a chance for precipitation that increases the potential for debris flow in Glenwood Canyon.
“Firefighters will continue with building direct and indirect fire line around the fire perimeter,” according to the update.
Structure protection continues in No Name and at Bair Ranch. Crews will also be finishing up work at the Red Canyon fire today.
PINE GULCH FIRE UPDATE: Growth on the Pine Gulch Fire burning north of Grand Junction on the Garfield-Mesa county line was minimal overnight, incident command on that fire reported Thursday morning. More accurate mapping also now shows the total fire area to be 121,781 acres, as opposed to the formerly reported 125,100.
“Firefighters have made significant progress on the north and east sides; total containment is now 14%. Today’s main concern will be storm cells moving over the fire area from around 12 p.m. to midnight and producing gusty outflow winds up to 45 mph. These winds could contribute to extreme fire behavior and active spread with potential for spotting.”
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Motorists and passersby could see a refreshed gateway to Rifle along Interstate 70 in the future.