Latest updates on the Deep Creek Fire burning in west Routt County
September 6, 2017
Check back here for the latest photos, videos and updates from the Deep Creek Fire burning between Hayden and Milner in west Routt County.
11:30 a.m.: The Deep Creek Fire was 4,112 acres with 39 percent containment as of Saturday evening. Yesterday, firefighters improved containment lines on the eastern and western portions of the fire. Aircraft was used throughout the day, when needed, to cool hot spots along the fire's edge.
Watch a video from Saturday night’s briefing:
#DeepCreekFire evening update. Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team Black Operations Section Chief Aaron…
Today, crews will continue to strengthen existing firelines on the northern and southern edge, while patrolling the areas of the fire that are contained. Residents and visitors in the area may continue to see smoke in the vicinity of the Deep Creek Fire on Sunday as firefighters continue to use fire where needed to secure the fire's perimeter.
Friday, Sept. 8
11:30 a.m.: The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has extended an air quality health advisory for wildfire smoke for Routt, Grand and Jackson counties.
Smoke from local fires, including Deep Creek and Big Red, combined with smoke from out-of-state fires is resulting in unhealthy air quality conditions. The heaviest smoke impacts will be felt in areas directly downwind from the Routt County wildfires, and include the Steamboat Springs and Walden areas, according to CDPE.
The health organization recommends that if smoke becomes thick in your neighborhood to remain indoors. This is important for those with heart disease, respiratory illness, the very young and the elderly. The advisory also states that people should consider limiting outdoor activity when moderate to heavy smoke is present. If visibility is less than five miles then smoke has reached levels that are unhealthy.
9:15 a.m. The fire has now burned 3,795 acres and is being managed by 254 personnel, according to an update this morning on InciWeb. Officials also discussed the firefighting efforts Thursday night. Watch a video below:
Officials say the fire has been more active on the northeast side and has moved closer to the Deep Creek community. But the outlook for suppressing this side of the fire before it reaches structures in the area is good, according to the latest fire update.
Here’s the latest evening update from the incident command team: “The Deep Creek Fire continued to be active on the northeast portion of the fire Thursday. Increased fire activity in this area began Wednesday night and has continued today. The fire has been burning in areas with dense vegetation that has sustained the fire's activity. The fire is now within 1.5 miles of the Deep Creek community, but the vegetation and terrain between the fire's current location and the Deep Creek community are favorable for firefighters to be successful with suppression efforts. However, Routt County OEM and the Deep Creek Fire Incident Commander advise the community to be prepared to evacuate should the fire continue to progress to the northeast and pose an increased threat to the Deep Creek community.”
— Lauren (@mrsspalty) September 7, 2017
6:35 p.m. Ash continues to fall in Steamboat this evening. The number of personnel working the Deep Creek fire doubled to 169 today. Updates on the fire’s size as well as a comprehensive map are now available here.
10:55 a.m. A new wildfire has emerged in Colorado in the Flat Tops Wilderness Area near Trappers Lake. The blaze, which started from a lightning strike Sept. 1, has burned about 200 acres by Thursday morning. It is burning in the same area as the Big Fish Fire that destroyed the Trappers Lake Lodge in 2002. Firefighters did not immediately discover the Himes Peak Fire because of the smoke and haze in the area from other wildfires. The U.S. Forest Service has closed the Trappers Lake and Himes Peak campgrounds due to the fire. Smokejumpers, hand crews, an air tanker and a helicopter have responded to the fire. The fire is burning through grass, aspen and heavy dead timber.
10 a.m. Here is the latest update on the Deep Creek fire activity overnight and the plan for today from the incident command team:
“Firefighters worked a night shift focused on structure protection. The fire remained active through the night, particularly on the northeastern portion. Night operations will continue as long as necessary.
On Thursday, crews will continue to construct fire lines to tie in with natural barriers, existing fuel breaks and dozer lines to contain the fire. They will use direct attack where it is safe to do so and an indirect strategy where necessary. Aircraft will be used, if conditions allow, to assist with the suppression efforts.
Weather: On Thursday, the temperature will be in the mid-70’s with a relative humidity of 20-25 percent. Winds are expected to be gusty and erratic throughout the day. Thunderstorm activity is predicted for the afternoon.”
Big Red Fire The latest information on the Big Red Fire in North Routt County can be found here.
7:35 p.m. The fire was reportedly more active this afternoon than it was yesterday. Still no level of containment, but officials say firefighting efforts should continue to ramp up tomorrow. Here’s our latest story.
5:45 p.m. There are 83 people working on the Deep Creek fire today. And as of this evening, no more evacuations have been issued aside from those who were at Wolf Mountain Ranch. There have also been no injuries reported at the fire. We’re expecting to get some information about what it was like at the fire scene shortly.
5:42 p.m. Some good news about air quality from the National Weather Service. A meteorologist there tells us to expect some relief from wildfire smoke starting late Thursday and Friday due to some shifting winds. While Steamboat might remain hazy from the smoke to the immediate west, the weather pattern that has been bringing in smoke from other fires out of state should shift.
3:40 p.m. The town of Hayden is seeing an influx of truck traffic due to the Deep Creek fire. The number of fire trucks going through the small town spurred West Routt Fire Chief Dal Leck to stop by schools in the town to let them know students and children should use extra caution on local roads. The command center for the fire is at the Routt County Fairgrounds.
2 p.m. How has the fire grown in recent days? The map below tells the story. The orange lines show the fire perimeter on Monday when the fire was just over 400 acres. The red perimeter shows where the fire had advanced to by Wednesday morning. The fire has been burning in mixed conifer, aspen and gambel oak on private and BLM lands.
11 a.m. The fire had consumed 2,286 acres as of Wednesday morning with no level of containment. Crews fighting the fire this morning include the Wyoming Hot Shots, a Colorado River hand crew, local fire agencies in Routt County and two helicopters. Officials said late Tuesday night they suspect the Deep Creek Fire was caused by a lightning strike.
Can the public pitch in? Readers were asking us Tuesday night if firefighters or residents in the area needed donated meals or places to take livestock. Here’s the response we got from public information officer Mike Lane, who is at the command center in Hayden.
“Please thank everyone for their generosity. Right now, firefighters are set for meals as a caterer is on site with type 3 incident. Most ranchers who needed to move livestock have done so, and no one is currently looking for housing. The IMT has the fairgrounds on stand-by if needed, but again, nothing requested at this time.”
Softball cancelled: Softball playoff games at Howelsen Hill have been cancelled due to the poor air quality from the wildfire smoke in the area. Games have been rescheduled for next week.
Below is a map of the fire perimeter put together after a flyover this morning.
Fire agencies shared these photos and videos showing the fire burning last night.
Wolf Mountain Ranch on Routt County Road 52 was the epicenter of firefighting activity on Tuesday. Ranch employees worked alongside fire crews to build fire lines and protect structures from the advancing fire.
Here’s our story on what it was like on the ranch.
Earlier in the day, Routt County commissioners were briefed on the additional resources that were being requested to help fight the fire. The state assumed control of the firefighting efforts Tuesday afternoon.
Firefighters were called to a possible wildfire just after 11 a.m. when someone spotted columns of smoke near Wolf Mountain. Between noon and 5 p.m., the fire exploded and grew from an estimated 2 acres to more than 400 acres. A helicopter working the nearby Big Red Fire was called in to help. Officials initially thought the fire might have been a reignition of a wildfire that was caused by lightning a week before. But West Routt Fire Chief Dal Leck reported seeing two distinct columns of smoke about a quarter mile apart, suggesting the Deep Creek Fire was a brand new blaze. Wolf Mountain Ranch manager Brent Romick reported seeing lightning in the area.