Firefighters winning against Rio Blanco County wildfires |

Firefighters winning against Rio Blanco County wildfires

Andie Tessler
This map, released by the Rocky Mountains Incident Management Team, shows the area still engulfed by the Wild Rose Fire as of Monday morning.
Andie Tessler

Firefighters have gained the upper hand as crews continue to battle blazes across Northwest Colorado.

The Wild Rose Fire southwest of Texas Mountain in Rio Blanco County has been held at 1,067 acres, and fire crews have contained 95 percent of the blaze. Since it began June 19, the fire has proved a challenge because of rough terrain and high winds.

Now, with the fire under control, crews are leaving for other assignments. The number of personnel on scene has been reduced from 360 people to 286.

There currently are no structures threatened by the Wild Rose Fire, but the road to Texas Mountain remains closed.

The closure of Rio Blanco County Road 116 at Colorado Highway 139 was lifted Saturday, and both C.R. 113 and C.R. 107 are open.

The Rocky Mountain Inci­dent Management Team took charge of the scene Friday and now is dismissing personnel from the scene. The team began to transfer control of the area to the Bureau of Land Management’s White River Field office Monday morning, with the BLM planning to take charge by the end of the day.

On the scene, the remaining force of five Hotshot Crews and four Type 2 hand crews are utilizing five engines, down drastically from 11 engines just two days ago. Four helicopters still are patrolling the area, but now air tankers will be used only as needed.

The Incident Management Team also took charge of the Collins Fire, 17 miles southwest of Meeker. That wildfire has receded from 379 acres to 380 acres and is now 90 percent contained after a five-day struggle against dry conditions and high winds.

Increased containment of the fire has resulted in the re-opening of C.R. 3 and it is under the jurisdiction of the White River BLM office.

Seven hand crews and two helicopter crews are in control of the blaze and made great progress constructing fire lines and beginning mop up. In spite of the progress, various oil and gas wells along with major power and gas lines still are considered threatened.

The red flag warning has been lifted.

There have been no updates on the status of the Brush Creek, Razorback, Ryan, Rope and Lime fires. As of last Saturday, the reports were mostly positive.

The Brush Creek Fire about 10 miles north of Rifle has been burning since Thursday and has grown to 400 acres with the help of 20 mph winds. There are no structures in the area.

One hotshot crew, one hand crew and two initial attack crews have eight engines and two helicopters at their disposal. In all, 91 fire crew personnel are at the scene and hope to take advantage of calmer winds overnight Saturday.

The small, one-quarter-acre Razorback Fire near Willow Creek has been contained and controlled by one responding crew.

The previously active Ryan, Rope and Lime fires have been contained and are in “mop-up mode,” according to last Saturday’s post to the management team’s website.

Fire crews were dispatched to a small brush fire off Colo. 13 in Moffat County on Saturday evening and quickly extinguished the small hot spot.

Andie Tessler can be contacted at 970-875-1793 or

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