Steamboat Springs Heavy rains that fell Saturday helped firefighters in their efforts to contain the Hinman fire 23 miles north of Steamboat Springs, as well as the Lost Green Complex fire, which includes the Lost Lakes, Green Creek and Big Fish Lake fires to the southeast of Steamboat.
"The good news is we're getting a good wetting rain and it's certainly going to help our efforts tremendously," said Peter D'Aquanni, information officer with Lawrence Garcia's Type II incident team managing the Hinman fire. "It's not going to put the fire out, but it will certainly dampen it and keep the fire down."
One firefighter was injured Saturday near the fire line when he slipped on a rock and twisted his back. He was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center at about 4:30 p.m.
Fire information officers did not release the man's name but said his injuries were not life-threatening or serious.
"That's the first (injury) that didn't just need a Band-Aid," said Karen Lightfoot, fire information official for Garcia's team. "And he's going to be OK."
The Hinman fire was 1,446 acres on Saturday before the rains began to fall. The slight increase in acreage from Friday could be a result of better mapping, D'Aquanni said.
The fire was contained at 33 percent, an 11 percent increase since Friday. D'Aquanni said that with the rain, conditions would get only better.
Steep terrain and sometimes gusty winds make containment efforts more challenging, but the estimated date of full containment is July 24.
The Hinman fire is of primary concern in the area because of its closeness to residences and businesses along Seedhouse Road.
Although Seedhouse Road, trails and campgrounds remain closed for firefighter and public safety, all businesses and guest ranches along the road are open for business.
There are 449 personnel assigned to the fire and the firefighting efforts are being managed by a Type II team from Arizona. The cost of the fire so far is $2,179,651.
Routt County Emergency Manager Chuck Vale said the Hinman fire is looking much more manageable than when it first started about a week ago.
Compared to last Saturday, he said, "This just really looked nice. I certainly feel a lot better."
On Saturday, the decision was made to manage the other three serious fires in the area as the Lost Green Complex fire, which means Cook's Interagency Fire Use Management Team will manage all of them.
The largest fire in the group is the Green Creek Fire, which was at 2,414 acres Saturday evening, fire information officer Punky Moore said. It is being fought by 54 people and a helicopter.
It is burning in extremely dry, dead and downed trees between the Sarvis and Green creeks in the Sarvis Creek Wilderness area, 15 miles southeast of Steamboat Springs. Containment lines on the east side of the fire prevented it from spreading toward the community of Stagecoach.
The Lost Lakes fire is burning dead, beetle-killed trees in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area of the Routt and White River National forests. It was at 1,253 acres Saturday evening. Ripple Creek Pass remains open, but all roads and trails near the fire are closed. No structures are threatened.
The Big Fish Lake fire is the newest fire in the group. It was at 30 acres Saturday evening and is five miles south of the Lost Lakes fire.
"These fires lend themselves to management by a single team because of their proximity to each other," said Tom Florich, acting district ranger for the Yampa Ranger District. "Given the limited availability of resources, we probably won't be able to get two (management) teams."
Lightning sparked several small fires in South Routt Friday, one of which began along County Road 179 by Trout Creek and C.R. 33 and 33B.
This fire was put out on Friday, then restarted Saturday and was contained by Saturday evening. It is about 70 acres and there is a dozer line around it, Vale said.
No structures are threatened, and when one Yampa Valley Electric power pole was in the line of the fire Saturday, the electric company turned off the power while firefighters protected the pole as the fire burned around it.