UPDATED: Skunk Creek Fire 100 percent contained Wednesday, July 11 | CraigDailyPress.com

UPDATED: Skunk Creek Fire 100 percent contained Wednesday, July 11

Craig Press staff report

Brandon Voegtle, a Bureau of Land Management firefighter in Craig, works the Divide Fire, one of several fires in the area that have been contained.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at noon, Thursdsay, July 12.

CRAIG — Firefighters reported Wednesday, July 11, they had fully contained the 620-acre Skunk Creek Fire. Crews will continue to patrol and mop up Thursday. 

On Wednesday, 124 firefighters worked the fire, which is 30 miles north of Craig near the Wyoming border. Some rain fell on the fire Tuesday and Wednesday. The latest information on the Skunk Creek Fire is available at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5908/.

Crews from local fire departments, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties and Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, joined by federal agencies, have continued to work a number of new fire starts the past several days. The new starts are thought to have been caused by lightning strikes moving through the area. 

Though some areas in Northwest Colorado are receiving rain, fire danger remains high. Fire officials urge the public to continue to be aware of the extreme fire conditions in the county and region.

A Type 2 incident management team assumed command of the Fawn, Ridge Top, Smith and Sprague fires in Rio Blanco County on Wednesday. 

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The Fawn fire has burned 1,065 acres and is now 90 percent contained. The fire is completely lined, and firefighters continue to work on completing mop-up operations, gridding and monitoring surrounding areas for new fire starts. No growth on the fire is expected, however, winds from thunderstorms combined with low fuel moistures could result in additional fire growth in areas receiving no precipitation.

The Sprague fire started July 9 and is located 20 miles southwest of Meeker. The fire is now 50 percent contained, and the lightning-caused fire has burned 91 acres. Fire personnel anticipate reaching full containment within the next few days.

A temporary flight restriction remains in place over the Fawn and Sprague fire areas, restricting aerial public access.

The Smith fire is located eight miles north of Meeker. The fire started July 7, burning 76 acres, and is now 80-percent contained. No additional growth is expected, and fire officials anticipate containment of the fire within the next few days. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The Ridgetop fire started July 7 and is now 95-percent contained. The fire burned nearly 144 acres and control efforts are nearing completion. Firefighters will continue mop-up and gridding on the Ridgetop fire.

County Road 11 is fully open to traffic. Fire crews and heavy equipment continue to move through the fire area and within the community of Meeker. The public is urged to drive with caution as crews work to suppress the fires in the area.

Wildfire terminology

Fires are classified by several status types, including contained, controlled and out.

• Contained: A control line has been completed around the fire, and any associated spot fires, which can reasonably be expected to stop the fire’s spread.

• Controlled: Has been contained with a completion of control line around a fire, any spot fires and any interior islands to be saved; burned out any unburned area adjacent to the fire side of the control lines; and cooled down all hotspots that are immediate threats to the control line, until the lines can reasonably be expected to hold under foreseeable conditions.

A fire that is contained or controlled is not out, and worsening conditions can contribute to loss of containment and/or control of a fire, as was the case recently with the Divide Fire north of Craig.

Source: National Wildfire Coordinating Group