The sun sets behind a blanket of smoke Saturday just west of Steamboat Springs. Temperatures in Steamboat are forecast to reach the 90s for much of the week as the fire danger remains very high.

Photo by Scott Franz

The sun sets behind a blanket of smoke Saturday just west of Steamboat Springs. Temperatures in Steamboat are forecast to reach the 90s for much of the week as the fire danger remains very high.

Rain returns to Steamboat's forecast Wednesday



Meg Boyer

A fire that started Saturday afternoon in the Medicine Bow National Forest near Woods Landing, Wyo., has consumed 2,000 acres and was growing Sunday night. The Squirrel Creek Fire is northeast of Routt County’s border with Wyoming and is burning beetle-killed timber. The fire’s rapid growth Sunday forced evacuations, according to a website being updated by the U.S. Forest Service. The website said several fire engines, a Type II attack crew, and air resources were actively fighting the fire. The cause was unknown.

— Weather forecasters are calling for another toasty and dry start to the workweek in Steamboat Springs.

But much-needed moisture could be just days away.

“Things could change starting Wednesday night through Friday,” said Jeff Colton, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction. “It definitely looks like there could be some rainfall producing thunderstorms. It’ll be more than just sprinkles.”

He added some of the weather models he’s been studying also call for some rain during the weekend and could be a precursor to July’s monsoon season.

In the meantime, Colton said temperatures in Steamboat likely will reach into the 90s for much of the week.

The Yampa Valley ended June very thirsty.

Steamboat received just 0.18 inches of precipitation last month, well below the city’s historic average of 1.68 inches for that month.

“It’s been bone dry up there,” Colton said.

Stringent burn bans still remain in effect in Routt County as drought conditions make the Yampa Valley vulnerable to fire.

The Stage 2 restrictions adopted for much of the county last month prohibit virtually all open flames, including campfires, stove fires and use of charcoal grills. The lone exception is the use of petroleum-fueled stoves, grills and lanterns provided vegetation has been cleared at least three feet on all sides.

The Steamboat Springs City Council is expected to enact the stage 2 restrictions Tuesday night for the city limits.

Private fireworks of any kind also are a no-go across the state.

Wildfire smoke

The smoke that lingered over Steamboat Springs on Friday and Saturday was attributed to a wildfire in Eagle County and a now-extinguished fire near Stagecoach. It was noticeably less hazy Sunday, but as wildfires continue to burn across the state, the Routt County Department of Environmental Health is advising the public to keep up with local smoke conditions.

According to a news release from Environmental Health Department Director Mike Zopf, smoke has reached unhealthy levels when visibility has decreased to less than five miles. Wildfire smoke can cause health issues including coughing, scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, shortness of breath, chest pain, headaches, stinging eyes and a runny nose, according to the release. If you see or smell smoke from a fire, the memo recommends:

• Avoiding outdoor physical activities

• Children, elderly, pregnant women, and people with respiratory conditions stay inside with the windows and doors closed. When using the air conditioner, the fresh-air intake should be closed and the filter cleaned.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email


rhys jones 4 years, 9 months ago

Oh great. Now jinx the rain too!! How many inches ya think we'll get this time, Myrtle?

Better idea: We chant MORE SUN MORE SUN all in sync -- THAT'LL bring on the Rain, because even God appreciates a joke now and then!!


rhys jones 4 years, 9 months ago

I was at the Boathouse last night, celebrating some apparent recent fortune...

I didn't bring a jacket or hat, knowing they wouldn't be needed.

Was discussing the weather with a salty local, including this article, and I threw in my MORE SUN chant...

Ten minutes later we were ducking inside, dodging the best rain so far this summer.

Did I mention I used to be a Rainmaker at Rawhide? Yep, I'm a pro.

That one was on the house. You're welcome.


Requires free registration

Posting comments requires a free account and verification.