North Routt The electrical storm that rumbled through Routt County Monday night may have caused two fires that were reported no more than a mile from each other, 20 miles north of Steamboat Springs in the Routt National Forest.
One fire, being called the South Fork Fire, is located near Three Island Lake and Forest Road 443 in the Routt Divide Blowdown area. The larger of the two fires, likely started by a lightning strike, was reported at 8:30 p.m. Monday night.
By Tuesday evening, it was well on the way to being contained, said Lynn Barclay, the fire information officer at the Craig Interagency Dispatch Center.
The fire grew from three acres Tuesday morning to about eight acres Tuesday evening, Barclay said. A 25-person crew from the Yampa District is fighting the fire with the help of two helicopters and a 20-person hand crew.
"I believe that they will get it contained by this evening," Barclay said Tuesday. "Today, (Forest Road) 443 was closed to the public so firefighters could gain access to the fire."
Because the South Fork Fire is in the Blowdown area, downed trees create an abundance of fuel, so access and firefighter safety are the main concerns in the containment effort, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Denise Germann said.
Firefighters on the ground are using F.R. 443 to reach the South Fork blaze, supplemented by helicopters in the air. No structures were being threatened as of Tuesday night.
A second, apparently smaller fire was reported Tuesday. It is within a mile of the South Fork Fire and was possibly started by lightning as well, Barclay said. Officials were trying to gather information on the fire Tuesday night.
"We're just trying to get details about the second one," Germann said.
To reach Larissa Keever call 871-4208