Steamboat Springs With the Hinman fire north of Steamboat Springs now 85 percent contained, control of the fire will return to the Routt National Forest district Thursday morning, and Seedhouse Road is expected to open to the public by 6 p.m. today.
The forest district has maintained responsibility of the fire but for the past two weeks delegated tasks to the Type II team, which is now scheduled to disassemble camp and return home by 6 p.m. today, fire and Forest Service officials said.
The acreage of the Hinman fire has been stable for the past few days at 1,446 acres.
The three other fires in Routt County the 2,414-acre Green Creek fire, the 1,650-acre Lost Lake fire and the 30-acre Big Fish fire showed increased fire behavior Tuesday but did not increase in acreage.
Fire behavior at these three fires could become more extreme in the warm, dry conditions that are predicted for this week.
The rain, humidity and cooler temperatures of the past few days helped firefighters make progress on the Hinman fire, although fire information officer Peter D'Aquanni said the team was doing well even before the weather began to cooperate.
"We were making good progress," D'Aquanni said. "This (weather) just speeded it up a little bit."
On Monday, crews at the Hinman fire started rehabilitation efforts, such as building water bars to prevent water from running straight down dozer lines and causing erosion.
They are also doing the mop-up, which means firefighters walk through an area a few hundred feet inside the outer fire line and extinguish any sources of smoke they find.
D'Aquanni said one Type II team of 20 people and some equipment would stay after the demobilization to assist the Forest Service workers with further rehabilitation of the suppression activities and of the burn impact.
The cost to date of the fire is $2,908,737.
The Green Creek fire east of Stagecoach and the Lost Lake and Big Fish fires south of Steamboat in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area are being managed as a group by Wayne Cook's Interagency Fire Use Management Team.
The Green Creek perimeter was hot and had scattered torching Tuesday. Two helicopters are supporting crews for this fire. It is being managed as a suppression fire.
The Big Fish fire showed significant creeping and smoldering, while the Lost Lakes fire showed little activity. Both of these fires are being managed as fire use fires, which means they are allowed to burn within predesignated areas and carry out their natural role as fire.
"We've been creative with these fires because we have not been able to get the amount of resources we would have liked on any of them," said Kim Vogel, district ranger for Hahns Peak/Bears Ears Ranger District.
But Vogel said she is confident these three fires are manageable.
"We've pretty much figured out what our strategies are going to be," she said. "That doesn't mean that we won't see any activity out of them."
Roads and trails in the East Williams Fort Basin remain closed because of hazards of falling dead and living trees, rolling rocks and unpredictable fire behavior.
Fire information officer Punky Moore for the Craig Interagency Dispatch Office said there have been signs some hikers are ignoring the closures.
"That is really dangerous," Moore said. "I think people need to be a little more aware that even though it may look really safe, those closures are there for a reason and we're going to keep them in effect until we really know that fire is not a threat to public safety."
There are not estimates of containment percentages for each fire, but the group is contained at 5 percent, Moore said.
As fires such as the Hinman fire come under control, more resources should be available to fight these three fires, Moore said.
Weather could still make a big difference in how much these three fires south of Steamboat grow.
"The biggest thing is whether that weather is going to hold or whether it's going to start picking up," Moore said. "The potential is still very high for very extreme fire danger out there and (weather) makes the difference every day."