Wildfire flares in Williams Fork Range in Grand County; Summit County on alert | PostIndependent.com

Wildfire flares in Williams Fork Range in Grand County; Summit County on alert

Summit Daily Staff Report
A wildfire is growing quickly Thursday on the border of Summit and Grand counties. The Sugarloaf Fire is moving quickly, officials said.
Photo courtesy Summit Fire & EMS

A wildfire burning in Grand County has Summit County officials on high alert. Earlier today a fire broke out near the Sugarloaf Campground and Henderson Mill south of Kremmling, and quickly grew from 20 acres to more than 40, according to Christian Hornbaker, emergency manager for Grand County.

Hornbaker said fire crews in Grand County have the fire under control, and plan to let it burn naturally to a certain point. Crews from Grand Fire, East Grand Fire and the Hot Sulphur Springs/Parshall Fire Protection District are currently on the scene.

“They’re just going to let it burn up to a point where they don’t want it to pass,” said Hornbaker.

Still, Summit officials are taking precautions. Summit Fire & EMS Chief Jeff Berino said officials are already working on contingency plans should the blaze pass into Summit County. The fire, dubbed the Sugarloaf Fire, is burning primarily beetle kill wilderness on Forest Service land which limits what types of responses are available to firefighters.

“What worries me is that the smoke column is bending west, meaning it might come over the hill into Summit,” said Berino. He added that it’s possible the fire would necessitate an aerial response similar to the one that assisted with the Buffalo Fire two weeks ago.

A giant plume of smoke can be seen from around Summit County, but officials are asking the public not to call 911. At this point there is no danger to Summit County structures or residents, though Berino noted they’re considering issuing pre-evacuation notices to residents north of Silverthorne and east of Highway 9 if it continues to creep closer.

As reported by the Sky-Hi News, there were two campgrounds in the vicinity of the fire—The South Fork and Sugarloaf Campgrounds—which were evacuated, though the evacuations have since been lifted.

The Sugarloaf Fire was the first of two to break out in Grand County today, as officials are still dealing with a smaller quarter-acre blaze near Grand Lake, according to Hornbaker.

For more coverage, go to summitdaily.com.