Steamboat Springs The skies opened Saturday night and a half-inch of rain provided relief for firefighters who have been battling wildfires burning southwest, southeast and north of Steamboat.
The rain halted growth of the Green Creek fire in the Sarvice Creek Wilderness area, the Lost Lakes fire in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area and the newest fire at Big Fish Lake, five miles south of the Lost Lakes fire.
According to Dave Adler, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service office in Grand Junction, firefighters will not see rain again until Tuesday or Wednesday.
"The ground is already starting to dry out, and we will see the weather warm up again over the next couple of days," he said.
The Green Creek fire measures 2,414 acres. The Lost Lakes fire has burned more than 2,150 acres and the Big Fish Lake fire was steady at 30 acres.
More crews arrived Sunday to observe and manage rather than suppress the fires. Hotshot crews were also expected and will be sent to the Green Creek fire.
The Big Fish Lake fire, said Fire Information Officer Punky Moore for the Craig Interagency Dispatch Office, is on similar terrain as the Lost Lakes fire.
"It is very dry," she said. "There are a lot of dead and downed trees."
The beetle-killed forest is prime for fire, she said. The fire started Friday. Lightning is suspected as the source of the fire. The fire is five miles southwest of the Lost Lakes fire and north of Big Fish Lake.
"The rain, which we haven't seen for a long time, cooled the fire down considerably and allowed crews to get a little closer," Moore said.
Firefighters are very aware, however, that current conditions will not last.
"This week's forecast calls for higher temperatures and lower humidity," she said. "With that in mind they are trying to get as much work done now as possible."
The Hinman fire also received considerable rain, which stopped growth for the day.
According to Fire Information Officer Karen Lightfoot, the Hinman fire has consumed 1,446 acres, but the 449 people assigned to the fire may have the end in sight.
"The rain helped a bunch," Lightfoot said. "We aren't counting our chickens yet, but we are moving into the mop up stage of the fire."