Middle Fork Fire reaches 5% containment
Firefighters continue to make progress in containing the Middle Fork Fire north of Steamboat Springs, which is now at 20,194 acres.
The fire is 5% contained, according to officials. Strong wind gusts continue to be a challenge for fire crews as it is blowing in areas of fire-weakened trees, leading to unsafe conditions for firefighters.
The fire hasn’t seen any significant growth since last week.
Conditions remain dry and breezy until Saturday, when a cold front is forecast to bring several inches of precipitation to the area in the higher elevations.
The number of personnel on the fire has been reduced to 112, now including five helicopters, two airtankers, an air attack supervision module, five engines and two hotshot crews.
There are currently no evacuation or pre-evacuation warnings in Routt County, though Jackson County has issued pre-evacuations along Rainbow Lakes, Aqua Fria, as well as Teal and Tiago Lakes areas. These pre-evacuations are primarily for hunters and ranchers in those areas, not for residential communities.
Routt National Forest is closed along the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area boundary east from Buffalo Pass Trailhead and north to Lost Ranger Trail. On the west, the closure follows the forest boundary from Red Dirt Trailhead north to the North Fork drainage. To the south, the closure follows Red Dirt Trail, Saddle and Saddle Cutoff trails, southeast to Rocky Peak, the intersection of Forest Service Road 314 and Summit Park Trail, southeast to the South Fork Soda Creek Drainage to Buffalo Pass Trailhead. And on the north, the closure follows Lost Ranger Trail west, the Continental Divide Trail south to Lost Ranger Peak west to The Dome and down the North Fork drainage.
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The crisis on the Colorado River is not waiting for the state of Colorado to develop a program to avoid water shortages.