Rain allows for direct attack of wildfires burning in Northwest Colorado | CraigDailyPress.com

Rain allows for direct attack of wildfires burning in Northwest Colorado

CRAIG — Recent rain showers have allowed fire crews to step up containment efforts on many of the wildfires burning in Northwest Colorado. As of noon Sunday, Aug. 5, the Craig Interagency Dispatch Center had recorded 123 wildfires, up from the 117 reported the week before. There were 10 false alarms and 53 smoke checks made. Most fires were small and suppressed quickly.

Federal firefighting resources continue to focus on four fires  — Cache Creek Fire, Red Canyon Fire, Cabin Lake Fire, and Silver Creek Fires — with crews using the favorable weather conditions to directly attack those fires.

• The Cache Creek Fire is located 8 miles southwest of Rifle. Initially reported July 28 the fire had burned 1,441 acres of heavy timber and was 5-percent as of noon Sunday, Aug. 5, with 337 people assigned to work on the blaze. The cause is not yet known.

• The lightning-caused Red Canyon Fire is located 52 miles southwest of Meeker — was reported July 29 and had burned 5,766 acres of timber brush and grass. It was reported at 44-percent containment as of noon Sunday, with 469 people assigned to work on the fire.

• The lightning-caused Silver Creek Fire is burning on Gore Mountain in the Routt National Forest and has consumed 2,061 acres of lodgepole, spruce, and fir pine since starting July 19. It was reported at zero-percent containment as of noon Sunday, and 124 people are assigned to the fire.

• The cause of the Cabin Lake Fire — about 5.5 miles south of Buford — is unknown. As of noon Sunday, the fire had burned 1,158 acres of heavy timber and was at 25-percent containment, with 173 people assigned to firefighting efforts.

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Management of the lightning-caused Indian Valley Fire — 16 miles northwest of Meeker — is expected to return to local command, as crews reached 95-percent containment of the fire. The blaze has burned a reported 6,310 acres of grass, brush, and timber since starting July 20.

Before rain moved into the area, the Lone Mountain Fire  — about 75 miles southwest of Craig — was reported. The fire burned 495 acres of sagebrush and grass until local crews were able to contain it. As of 12:45 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3, it was reported as 100-percent contained.

In the interest of public safety a number of road and land use closures are still in effect for the areas in and around the wildfires. Motorists are advised to plan ahead by checking for the latest closure advice for each fire on inciweb.nwcg.gov, or through the BLM, the U.S. Forest Service, and/or county sheriff offices.

State II restrictions

Stage II fire restrictions went into effect Friday on BLM lands in the White River Field Office, and Rio Blanco County has implemented similar restrictions. As of noon Sunday, both Moffat and Routt counties maintained Stage I fire restrictions.

The first stage occurs when there is an increasing fire danger and/or an increasing preparedness level and the risks of keeping the forest open to all activities begin to be outweighed by the risks inherent in doing so. Stage I imposes relatively minor restrictions aimed at preventing the start of wildfires based on human activities known to be high risk, specifically, smoking and campfires.

Stage II restrictions — imposed as the risks increase — focus on activities which, though normally managed under permit or contract, have a relatively high risk of starting a fire. Restrictions under Stage II will affect forest users and have economic impacts to contractors, permittees, and others. Therefore, the decision to move to Stage II involves a risk/benefit assessment, as well as consideration of economic and social impacts.

Stage I restrictions prohibit the following acts.

• Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire except within a developed recreation site or improved site.

• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.

• Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark-arresting device properly installed, maintained, and in effective working order, meeting either the USDA Forest Service Standard or appropriate Society of Automotive Engineers recommended practice.

Stage II restrictions prohibit the following acts, in addition to the prohibitions outlined in Stage I.

• Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire or campfire.

• Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.

• Possessing, discharging, or using any kind of firework or other pyrotechnic devices.

• Using an explosive.

• Operating a chainsaw or other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine between 1 p.m. to 1 a.m.

• Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained and in effective working order meeting either: 1. USDA Forest Service standards or appropriate Society of Automotive Engineers recommended practice.

• Welding or operating an acetylene or other torches with open flame.

• Possess or use a motor vehicle off Forest System Roads, except when parking in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway and except for parking overnight in developed campgrounds and at trailheads.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

2018 summer fire report Aug. 5

As of noon Sunday, Aug. 5, the Craig Interagency Dispatch Center had recorded 123 wildfires, up from the 117 reported the week before. There were 10 false alarms and 53 smoke checks made. Most fires were small and suppressed quickly. Following is the latest on large fires burning or recently contained in the region.

• Cache Creek Fire
Location: 8 miles southwest of Rifle
Cause: Unknown
Size: 1,441 acres
Containment: 5-percent as of noon Sunday
Start date: Saturday, July 28
Vegetation: heavy timber and dead and downed timber
Number of people working the fire: 337
Management: Rocky Mountain Type 2 Blue Team

• Red Canyon Fire
Location: 52 miles southwest of Meeker
Cause: Lightning
Size: 5,766 acres
Containment: 44-percent as of noon Sunday
Start date: Sunday, July 29
Vegetation: Timber, brush, and grass
Number of people working the fire: Approximately 469
Management: Southwestern Area Incident Management Team 5

• Indian Valley Fire
Location: 16 miles northwest of Meeker
Cause: Lightning
Size: 6,310 acres
Containment: 95 percent as of noon Sunday
Start date: Friday, July 20
Vegetation: Grass, brush, and timber
Number of people working the fire: 1
Management: Southwestern Area Incident Management Team 5

• Cabin Lake Fire
Location: Approximately 5.5 miles south of Buford
Cause: Unknown
Size: 1,158 acres
Containment: 25-percent as of noon Sunday
Start date: Sunday, July 29
Vegetation: Heavy timber
Number of people working the fire: 173
Management: Type 3 Incident Management Team

• Lone Mountain Fire
Location: About 75 miles southwest of Craig
Cause: Unknown
Size: 495 acres
Containment: 100-percent as of 12:45 p.m. Friday
Start date: Aug. 2
Vegetation: Sagebrush and grass
Management: Local

• Silver Creek Fire
Location: Gore Mountain in the Routt National Forest
Cause: Lightning
Size: 2,061 acres
Containment: Zero-percent containment as of noon Aug. 5
Start date: July 19
Vegetation: Lodgepole, spruce, and fir
Number of people working the fire: 124
Management: U.S. Forest Service Type 4