Steamboat Springs The Hinman fire 23 miles north of Steamboat Springs is now 60 percent contained, and some crew members and equipment being used to fight the fire are receiving orders to go elsewhere.
The other three fires in Routt County the 2,414-acre Green Creek fire, the 1,650-acre Lost Lakes fire and the 30-acre Big Fish fire are being managed collectively. Crews took advantage of Sunday's moisture to reinforce control lines on the Green Creek fire east of Stagecoach, but growth potential remains high for all three fires.
Growth of the Hinman fire is less likely. Fire information officials said they are 85 percent confident that fire will be fully contained by Wednesday.
The number of people working on the 1,446-acre Hinman fire was reduced from 449 to 385 on Monday, and helicopters should be assigned to other fires soon.
The first priority in these demobilization efforts is to send local resources home as soon as possible, said fire information officer Karen Lightfoot.
"A lot of them are coming up on their 15 days of commitment," Lightfoot said.
Once 100 percent containment and some control of the fire are achieved, which could happen as early as the end of the week, Lightfoot said the fire could be turned back to the district. But officials said they are still cautious about the progress.
"If we don't get rain, the whole situation could change," Lightfoot said. "It's a powerful force of nature."
The northern section of the fire is in terrain that Lightfoot called "brutal" because it is steep and rocky. Some cliffs and other natural barriers provide natural containment lines.
The southern section of the fire, which is close to homes and businesses along Seedhouse Road, is well contained. No spotting was observed on Sunday or Monday, Lightfoot said.
Routt County Emergency Manager Chuck Vale said although Seedhouse Road is still closed because of the large volume of firefighters and equipment moving along it, the road could open by the end of this week.
Businesses in the area remain open.
Vale also said the recent rain has been helpful, but that it does not lessen the extreme dryness of fuels in the area that make fires a risk.
"I think the biggest help is that (the rain) is allowing firefighters to relax and recuperate," Vale said. "Has it done anything for fire danger? No."
Vale said the fire ban will most likely be on until it snows and fire danger will probably be extreme for the next 2 1/2 months.
The Green Creek, Lost Lakes and Big Fish fires are all being referred to collectively as the Lost Green Complex. Sixty-five personnel are assigned to the complex, with additional crews arriving including a Hot Shot crew from Wyoming and another from Arizona.
Behavior of the Green Creek fire was moderate Monday due to lower temperatures and higher relative humidity. Helicopters dropped buckets of water on hot spots on the south perimeter and crews made progress on several edges of the fire.
With weather over the next few days predicted to be warm and dry, fire officials said they expect torching and other more extreme fire behavior could take place in all three fires.
Roads and trails are closed in the East Williams Fork Basin due to hazards including falling snags and trees, rolling rocks and unpredictable fire behavior.
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