Firefighters battle two blazes near Hayden |

Firefighters battle two blazes near Hayden

Eleanor C. Hasenbeck/Steamboat Pilot & Today
Smoke rises from a new wildfire, which ignited Sunday afternoon south of Hayden.
Sally Scott/courtesy

HAYDEN — Routt County firefighters battled two blazes near Hayden Sunday. While fighting the Murphy Fire northwest of Hayden on Sunday, crews spotted smoke from a new fire south of town.

Murphy Fire

The Murphy Fire sparked Friday evening after lightning struck the Murphy Ranch near the rest stop at mile marker 101 on U.S. Highway 40.

Some homes on Routt County roads 78 and 76 were placed on pre-evacuation notice Saturday, but the notice was lifted Sunday, said Routt County Emergency Operations Director David “Mo” DeMorat.

One home on C.R. 78A was evacuated about 7:45 p.m. Saturday, but residents were able to return home Sunday morning.

Due to firefighting activity, officials are asking travelers to avoid the area of Routt County roads 76, 76A and 78 unless they live there.

Crews worked to reinforce the perimeter of the fire Sunday after the fire jumped fire lines Saturday, said West Routt Fire Protection District Fire Chief Dal Leck.

“We had a lot of active fire (Saturday). It jumped our lines,” Leck said.

He added that windy conditions Saturday helped the fire spread to the north and west.

DeMorat said the fire was burning in about 690 acres as of Sunday afternoon.

“We had pretty good containment last night and this morning,” Leck said Sunday. “It had laid down and was pretty dormant.”

He said the fire looked “pretty quiet” Sunday morning.

“We have to see what it looks like when the temperature picks up,” Leck said.

Nine engines from Oak Creek, North Routt, and Steamboat Springs fire protection districts, joined by Craig Rural Fire Protection District firefighters, are assisting West Routt firefighters in working to contain the blaze. Bureau of Land Management firefighters based out of Craig are also on scene.

Though smoke from the fire is visible from Hayden, Leck said the community is not threatened.

“It’s burning sagebrush and grass,” he said. “When it flares up, it does put up a lot of smoke, and Hayden just happens to be downwind of it.”

Routt County Road 53

A wildland fire ignited along Routt County Road 53 south of Hayden Sunday afternoon.

The road was closed between its intersections with C.R. 29 and C.R. 37, which is known as the haul road.

Firefighters battling the Murphy Fire spotted the smoke about 3 p.m. Sunday, DeMorat said. Once on scene, authorities realized the fire was growing quickly.

Two homes were placed on pre-evacuation notice in light of the fire, and one home was evacuated, DeMorat said.

Air tankers arrived on the scene with a focus on protecting the home that was threatened.

“We diverted a couple engines from the Murphy Fire,” DeMorat said.

Firefighters also requested any available assets from other fire districts in Routt County. The Yampa, Oak Creek, and Steamboat Springs Area Fire Protection Districts were sending any available equipment and personnel to the fire, he added.

According to scanner traffic, officials estimated the fire was at about 25 acres at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

Contact Eleanor Hasenbeck at 970-871-4210 or, or follow her on Twitter@elHasenbeck.


See more