Drier conditions fuel activity

Smoke reported to the north and south of Steamboat

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— Smoke was visible to the north and south of Steamboat Springs Monday, as drier conditions fueled increased fire activity.

Last week's cooler temperatures and intermittent rain showers have been replaced with heat and dry weather.

Smoke reported north of Steamboat was coming from areas within the Mount Zirkel Complex, which is comprised of the Hinman and Burn Ridge fires. Officials decided to monitor rather than suppress the fire.

"There is a lot of smoke coming from there," fire information officer Brenda Stauffer said. "They are allowing those areas to burn out."

Suppression efforts were being managed within a predetermined boundary. If and when the flames strayed close to the edge of the boundary, helicopters and air tankers responded with water and retardant.

Two fire crews, the Tatanka and Cherokee Hot Shots, were placed on the southeastern edge of the Hinman fire to prevent the blaze from moving to the west.

A slight increase in size was reported on the south side of the Burn Ridge fire.

The fire is now estimated at 35,583 acres.

Smoke reported south of Steamboat was coming from the Lost Lakes fire, which has burned 4,800 acres in the Flat Tops Wilderness area.

The 25-acre fire burning 20 north of Hayden near Sugar Loaf Mountain affected the closure of several U.S. Forest Service roads and one trail in the Routt National Forest.

Forest Development Roads 118, 116 east of the junction with 118 and 118.2A and Forest Development Trail 1144 from Lost Park to Adam Creek, are closed to hikers, horseback riders and motorized vehicles.

Forest Service officials said the closures are necessary to promote the safety of the public and firefighters, as well as lessen interference with fire crews and their work.

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