Regional crews battle new wildfires
July 24, 2010
Steamboat Springs — Wildland firefighters spent Saturday battling new wildfires in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties as warm, dry weather continues to fuel the blazes.
No fires have been reported in Routt County, said Lynn Barclay, public information officer for the Bureau of Land Management's Little Snake Field Office and the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit.
She said nearly all of the BLM's engines are monitoring blazes across Northwest Colorado.
The Craig Hotshots have been assigned to the Ryan Fire, a quarter-acre blaze on steep, rugged terrain 3 miles north of Meeker.
Because of the terrain and lack of safety zones, helicopters have been dropping water on the blaze since Friday afternoon. Ground crews were able to find safe access to the fire and have the blaze 100 percent contained. Signs will be placed along Colorado Highway 13 to warn motorists of the fire.
A fire 20 miles west of Maybell also continues to burn from Friday.
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Three fire engines and two 20-person hand crews are working to contain the blaze, called the Three C Fire. A heavy air tanker has dropped retardant on the fire to allow the ground crews opportunity to build a fire line. The Three C Fire was anticipated to be 80 percent contained by Saturday night.
Fire vehicles will use Moffat County Road 10, which will remain open. However, the fire management unit advised the public to use caution when traveling through the area.
Fire managers also are actively monitoring a 2-acre wildfire in Dinosaur National Monument, about a quarter-mile from the Utah border. Managers are not currently attempting to contain the blaze, called the Whirlpool Fire.
The new fires come on the heels of the containment of three large fires in western Moffat County. About 2,000 acres burned before firefighters controlled blazes near Greystone and Elk Springs.
Barclay said the estimated 36 fires in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties this week are typical activity for the area.
"We do have the climate and the weather pattern that set up and support these kinds of fires," she said. "Most of them are small, and we can get on them right away."
The fire danger in Routt County is listed as high at lower elevations and moderate at higher elevations. The fire danger in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties is listed as very high.
Barclay advised the public to be conscious of surroundings while camping or picnicking outdoors, though there are no fire restrictions in place.
She said moisture is forecasted for mid-week, which could affect the fire cycles.