Deep Creek firefighters vigilant with gusty winds | SteamboatToday.com

Deep Creek firefighters vigilant with gusty winds

Firefighters work at the Deep Creek Fire northeast of Hayden.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — With wind gusts of 50 mph, firefighters Tuesday were closely monitoring the Deep Creek Fire burning nine miles northeast of Hayden.

The 4,161-acre fire was still 100 percent contained, but firefighters were patrolling fire lines to ensure the fire stays within the perimeter.

"We're getting a little bit of activity on the line to the north," said Oak Creek Fire Protection District Chief Chuck Wisecup, who is serving as incident commander for the fire.

He said there was no additional growth.

Routt County Emergency Management Director David "Mo" DeMorat said officials from the Colorado Division of Reclamation Mining and Safety came Sunday to inspect coal that had been burning at the fire. The coal tailings were from an abandoned mine.

DeMorat said the pile was about 50-feet by 100-feet wide, and the state officials did not seem too concerned. They will return in about three weeks to check the coal again.

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Recent precipitation has aided efforts at both the Deep Creek Fire and the 2,940-acre Big Red Fire burning in North Routt County in the National Forest.

"It definitely got a lot of rain and some snow over the weekend," District Ranger Chad Stewart said. "I don't think they've had a single tree torch in two days."

Last Thursday and Friday, Steamboat Springs saw .72 inches of rain. To the west in Hayden, .39 inches of rain was reported.

Because of the decreased fire activity at the Big Red Fire, the Forest Service has scaled back closures.

The only roads now closed are Forest Service Road 500 and its spurs within the burn area.

With an active wildfire season in Northwest Colorado, fire officials have been revisiting whether to reinstate fire restrictions.

"We decided to not go into any fire restrictions yet, but we'll continue to revisit that until the end of the fire season, which is hopefully in a couple weeks," DeMorat said.

Outside of Routt County, Yampa Valley Electric Associations employees were battling fierce winds and dust stroms at the 4,700-acre Pine Tree Fire in Moffat County.

"With 33 utility poles needing replacement from burning, another 23 poles being added to shorten the spans, and over 3,300 feet of damaged overhead aluminum conductor needing replacement, among other damage, our YVEA crew and contractors are working diligently and safely to restore power," YVEA Member Outreach Supervisor Jim Jennings said.

YVEA anticipates to have the system restored by Sept. 27 as long as the weather cooperates and crews do not encounter anything unexpected.

In Summit County, fire officials are dealing with the new Tenderfoot 2 Fire near Dillon.

The fire was estimated to be 25 acres Tuesday.

No evacuations have been ordered. Power lines and microwave towers are located in the vicinity of the fire.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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