Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit now managing Boone Draw Fire; BLM temporarily closes public lands in vicinity | CraigDailyPress.com

Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit now managing Boone Draw Fire; BLM temporarily closes public lands in vicinity

MAYBELL — Fire officials with the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit are now managing the more-than 6,000 acre Boone Draw Fire, which is burning in pinyon-juniper, grass, and sage on Bureau of Land Management land about 50 miles northwest of Craig, according to a news release from NCFM.

The growing fire has prompted the closure of three county roads in the area, as well as the temporary closure of public lands in the vicinity of the fire.

The blaze, which was initially reported just before noon Thursday, is located north of Colorado Highway 318 and has encroached into the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Herd Management Area.

The NCFM news release stated the fire was about 5 percent contained as of 5 p.m. Friday, and the cause remains under investigation.

Spurred by hot, dry, windy conditions Thursday, the fire quickly grew to more than 6,000 acres during its first day. NCFM reports the blaze continued to grow throughout the day Friday, though at a slower rate than was observed the day before.

Firefighters are actively suppressing the fire on its east and west flanks, using Colo. 318 as an anchor point and working northward. As of Friday, some 100 Moffat County and BLM personnal had been assigned to the fire, and additional resources — including more than 10 Type-6 engines, four Type 2 hand crews, six single-engine air tankers, and two helicopters — had been requested and were continuing to arrive.

Recommended Stories For You

Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume reported early Friday afternoon that the fire had prompted closures on Moffat County roads 46, 67, and 52, but added that, contrary to rumor, Colorado Highway 318 remained open.

In addition to the road closures, the BLM Little Snake Field Office on Friday implemented an area closure on BLM public lands in the vicinity of the fire to protect the safety of both firefighters and the public. The closure affects public lands within the South Sand Wash Special Recreation Management Area and the Sand Wash Wild Horse Management Area.

According to a Friday news release from the BLM, "… public lands in Moffat County within the Boone Draw Fire area … are temporarily closed to all unauthorized entry, effective immediately and remaining in effect until the Boone Draw Fire is declared controlled or until this order is rescinded."

Specifically, the closure applies to all Moffat County public lands within an area north of Colo. 318, east of BLM roads 2040 and 2042, south of Moffat County Road 52, and west of Moffat County Road 67.

The affected lands are located primarily within Townships 8 and 9 North, Range 98 and 99 West.

Under the closure, prohibited acts include the following.

  • Going into or being upon public lands described in the order.
  • Being upon the public land road systems in the area described.
  • Any mode of travel on or off trails in the area described.

Meanwhile, the much smaller Three Wash Fire, which was also reported about noon Thursday, did not see the tremendous growth evidenced in its larger counterpart to the west. Burning in pinyon-juniper, grass, and sage northwest of Maybell, the Three Wash Fire was holding at about 369 acres.

County residents should expect elevated fire danger into the weekend as windy, dry conditions persist. The National Weather Service on Friday extended a fire watch for northwestern Colorado and northeastern Utah until 10 p.m. Saturday, reporting that fire danger remained high due to gusty winds and low humidity.

Contact Jim Patterson at 970-875-1790 or jpatterson@CraigDailyPress.com.