Thursday saw good progress on most Colorado wildfires
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Thursday saw good progress on most Colorado wildfires

Fort Collins : CO : USA | Jun 29, 2012 at 12:27 AM PDT
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June 28, 2012, 11:45PM, MDST

Colorado Wildfire Updates

Waldo Canyon Fire, Fire officials said higher humidity levels, some rain and reduced winds helped firefighters gain 15% containment on Thursday. During an afternoon news conference U.S. Forest Service supervisor, Jerri Marr said "We made significant progress on the ground today." Today firefighters made the most progress on the north and northwest side, where firefighters were on the ground. More than 1,200 firefighters were on the fire lines Thursday, taking advantage of the lull in the weather digging and scratching for every inch of containment that they could get. U.S. 24 remains closed from Cave of the Winds to the county line and will remain that way through the weekend. Colorado Springs issued the number of destroyed homes at 347. There are 36,000 people still under evacuation tonight. As crews began searching the 346 homes destroyed by the fire a body was discovered at 2910 Rossmere Street there is also one other person missing from the same address

The fire has grown to 16,750 acres; there has been a maximum effort to contain the spot fires north of Rampart Ridge Reservoir. Favorable weather conditions have allowed for securing of the subdivision of Cedar Heights and eliminate the potential of fire from destroyed structures involving other structures. Weather and fire behavior has also allowed crews to go direct in all divisions. Development of management action points; for evacuations have begun for Woodland Park, Monument and Manitou Springs. Firefighters are working to secure the Stanley Repeater site and mitigate the threat of fire damage. The firefighters will focus tonight on completing work around the Stanley Repeater site. Complete direct line construction in divisions C and D. Secure lines in Williams Canyon to reduce the threat to Manitou Springs. Contain and secure spot fires north of Rampart Reservoir. Continue to secure line on US Air Force Academy.

Estimated date of full containment remains at Monday July 16th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM

Family and friends can check status by phone at (719) 785-2724.

Flagstaff Fire, Officials said Thursday night the fire is now 40%contained. A federal Type 1 incident command took over the lead early Thursday morning on fighting the Flagstaff Fire, which is about 300 acres in size. Fire Officials said the goal is to have 100% containment by Saturday. The fire is burning 1.5 miles outside the city limits on the west side of Boulder and is still a threat to the city of Boulder, according to Incident Commander Rocky Opliger. 330 firefighters are part of the team assigned the fire, and 50 of those were on call overnight in case the fire flared. Two air tankers and two helicopters are providing air support.

Evacuations

Families in 28 homes that were evacuated on Tuesday on Flagstaff and Bison drives have been allowed to return to their homes.

The Emergency Operations Center has activated a call center for residents and others impacted by the fire to obtain information. The phone number is 303-413-7730.

High Park Fire, The High Park Fire near Fort Collins is now 85% contained and could be fully contained this weekend, officials said. The High Park Fire has burned 87,284 acres and destroyed 257 homes. The number of homes could increase after additional assessments are completed. The containment date was moved from July 30th to July 15th then July 1st. The cost of fighting the fire so far is $33.5 million. Crews will patrol the fire throughout the night. The work focus has shifted to rehabilitation, removing negative effects of suppression efforts. Crews are smoothing dozer lines around Glacier View, for example. Thursday at 5 p.m. residents were allowed to return to the following areas: Rist Canyon Road, including all connecting roads, and the following subdivisions: (Pine Acres, Davis Ranch, Rist Canyon, Spring Valley, Whale Rock, Rist Creek, Stratton Park, Tip Top Ranch), Laurence Creek, Paradise Park, Stove Prairie Road from Buckhorn Road to Bent Timber Lane, Old Flowers Road from Stove Prairie Road to the 8000 block. Evacuation order for Glacier View Filing 12 is expected to be lifted at noon on Friday June 29. Today should be warmer and drier with morning sun and a chance of afternoon lightning, with WSW winds. Coordination continues with local authorities to facilitate assessment and re-entry into previously evacuated subdivisions. Acres by ownership: Private: 39,570/State: 5,022/U.S. Forest Service: 42,634/Bureau of Land Management: 28/Bureau of Reclamation: 30. Threat to residences is decreasing due to increase in containment. About 1,900 people evacuees were being allowed back into their homes Thursday.

The fire team has made many resources available for reassignment to other fires, but is keeping crews and equipment to sustain effective suppression and work across the High Park fire.

There will no longer be citizens' briefings.

FIRE RESOURCES

3 Type 1 Helicopters; 3 Type 3 Helicopters

Heavy Air Tankers (available if needed)

79 Engines

3 Type 1 Hand Crews

9 Type 2 Hand Crews

12 Water Tenders

9 Dozers

2 Feller Bunchers (staged and available)

EVACUATION INFORMATION

Shorline Drive is also under a pre-evacuation. All residents previously evacuated are also still on a pre-evacuation alert.

Evacuation orders remain in place for the following areas:

- Glacier View Filing 12.

-Pingree Park Road, Hourglass and Comanche reservoirs, east on Buckhorn Road up to and including Pennock Pass, NE to junction with Stove Prairie and Hwy 14; West to junction with Highway 15 and Pingree Park Road

-County Road 44H (Buckhorn Road) from County Road 27 to Pennock Pass and residents to the south approximately 3/4 - 1 mile.

-Buckhorn Road up to the Stove Prairie School.

-Poudre Canyon from Mishawaka to Eggers.

-The area between County Road 27E and Stove Prairie Road and south through the entire Rist Canyon area including Davis Ranch Road and Whale Rock Road.

-South from County Road 44H 3 miles to just north of Stringtown Gulch Road, Paradise Park Road, Moose Horn Lane, Magic Lane and Spencer Mountain Road.

-Old Flowers Road from Stove Prairie Road to the 8000-block of Old Flowers Road.

-County Road 27 to Highway 14, east along Highway 14 to approximately mile marker 111, southeast to Rist Canyon Fire Station 1, then back west to to include Wilderness Ridge Way, Rist Creek Road, Spring Valley Road and County Road 41 and all of the roads that run off it.

Little Sand Fire, There were two new fires detected south of the Piedra River, that started from last night's lightning. As the afternoon has warmed up, one has become visible about 1/10th of a mile from Monument Horse Camp. Unaweep Wildland Fire Module (a smaller crew) and a local Pagosa Engine have responded. It was reported to be a single log on fire. Activity reported out of Durango is a number of new starts as a result of the same lightning storm, which will likely be found as they begin to smoke in the afternoon heat. There are plenty of resources available to deal with them. The Little Sand Fire has burned 23,400 acres with 31% containment. The fire is burning 13 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs in rugged and inaccessible terrain just north of the Piedra River. Approximately 220 personnel are fighting the fire. The fire is in rugged and inaccessible terrain, north of the Piedra River. Cause of this fire was lightning. Crews will continue patrol of southern portion of the fire adjacent to the Piedra River. They will use bucket drops and hand crews, as needed, to contain spot fires. There are very few closures due to fire activity. Pagosa Springs and most Forest Service & private campgrounds are open for business. Smoke will continue to be a problem in low lying areas in the early morning hours. Communities around the fire area in Archuleta, La Plata, Hinsdale, Mineral, Rio Grande and Conejos counties will experience potentially heavy smoke when the fire is active and wind is blowing their direction.

New Treasure Fire, The fire is roughly 10 miles southwest of Quandary Peak, some 6 miles northwest of Leadville and proximate to Climax Mine and the crest of Fremont Pass. It burns in Birdseye Gulch on the western side of Mosquito Peak. Reported at 320 acres and growing, 10% containment with 125 firefighters assigned to the fire. The fire is listed as a Type 4 incident, placing it lower on the priority list for resources. 4 full-size and one 10-person hand crews are working at the fire. Two of the four crews have arrived within the last 48 hours. Also assigned are one helicopter and various supervisory and support staff. One additional hand crew is on order. No structures are currently threatened. The Treasure fire is not threatening lives or structures at this time. Mosquito Pass Road has been reopened. The road into Birdseye Gulch remains closed. The fire is now 25% contained.

People working on the fire:

Incident Commander Chris Naccarato

Americorps 10-person crew from Lake George Colorado

Greyback, contract crew from Montana

Juniper Valley, Department of Corrections crew from Buena Vista, Colorado

Maryland One crew, most of whom are employees of the State of Maryland

MidPlains, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service from Kansas

Pacific Oasis, a contract crew from Oregon

One medium-life helicopter staffed by the Gallatin Helirappel crew

Supervisory and support staff

CR-102 Fire, No change, Crews are still working hot spots and are calling the fire 95% contained. Weather remains a factor as the work fire in and near the canyon area. Evacuations are still lifted and no immediate concerns are held for the Town of Elbert and surrounding areas. Elbert County is requesting that the community remain on Fire Watch and report wildfires and careless activity that could result in a fire.

State Line Fire, No Changes, the fire has burned 350 acres including some buildings along U.S. Highway 550. The blaze is about 50% contained. Battling the blaze Monday were 140 fire personnel, 10 engines and a helicopter doing water drops. Cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Weber Fire, Burnout operations by firefighters have proven to be successful in efforts to contain the 9,279 acre Weber Fire with containment holding at 45%. Firefighters continued to make good progress Thursday in preparing containment lines around the Weber Fire. Difficult and treacherous terrain on both the northern and southern ends of the fire has not allowed firefighters to construct hand lines directly on the fire perimeter. The estimated containment date is, Thursday July 05th, 2012 approx. 12:00 AM. Fire managers often use a tactical approach of putting in-direct fire line then burning out the unburned fuels between the fire perimeter and the constructed fire line. This technique is used when an area within the fire perimeter is not safe for firefighters to work in. Structure protection around residences and communication towers is still in place. Firefighting efforts continue to be aided by air resources, including two Type 1 and two Type 3 helicopters. Mop-up operations continue along the western flank of the fire. Firefighters are using this technique to extinguish hotspots along the containment lines. The incident is running two operational periods. Day: Continue point protection around structures. Strengthen control lines. Burn out constructed line when conditions are favorable, and continue protection of communication sites. Assist with local initial attack. Evacuees will be allowed to return to their homes, with Law Enforcement escort, for short periods. Reopen County Road 41 south of Mancos, CO. Night: Burn out line on southern perimeter when conditions are favorable. Construct, improve and mop-up constructed line. Continue protection of structures and communication sites.

Lightner Fire, the Lightner fire is burning about 3.5 miles west of Durango in the Lightner Creek drainage on the north side of Highway 160. The fire is located approximately 1.5 miles north of the junction of County Roads 207 and 208, and west of County Road 208. The fire started on the Perins Peak State Wildlife Area and burned up onto public lands managed by the BLM Tres Rios Field Office. The 80-acre fire is approximately 40% contained. At 10:00 AM today there were 50 fire personnel, 2 engines, 2 water tenders and one Type 1 helicopter on scene. Additional firefighters are expected this afternoon. A helicopter and SEAT dropped retardant on the top and shoulders of Barnroof Mountain yesterday. Total number of fire personnel today is 90 firefighters. Fire activity picked up a little this afternoon burning another 5 acres. An update on containment will not be available until this evening.

Pine Ridge Fire, The Pine Ridge Fire was very active this afternoon and spread in three different directions. The last estimated size is 10,000 acres which will be verified with an infrared flight later tonight. Drivers are urged to avoid travel on I-70 if possible. I-70 is currently closed in both directions from mile marker 62 to mile marker 32. A detour is set up using the De Beque cut-off road and Highway 65. Mesa County Sheriff's Office ordered an evacuation for the area east of I-70, west of 45 1/2 Road, and south of U Road. An evacuation center is set up at the Palisades High School. A local Type 3 Incident Management Team assumed command of the fire at 8 a.m. Thursday. A Type 1 Incident Management Team has been ordered and is expected to arrive Friday afternoon. Fire behavior remains extreme and is now threatening De Beque. Fire advancing towards De Beque and the I-70 corridor forced closure of I-70 and initiated evacuations for approximately 50 residences south of I-70.

Thursday good progress was made and containment grew while projected containment dates were reduced in some fires by weeks.

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High Park Fire
High Park Fire, burns up to but stops at Timber Trail.
Larry-Crehore is based in Longmont, Colorado, United States of America, and is an Anchor on Allvoices.
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