Spring Creek Fire update – July 11

Rocky Mountain Area Complex Incident Management Team Two

July 11 operational briefing with Planning Operations Section Chief Trainee, Jeramy Dietz
July 11 operational briefing with Planning Operations Section Chief Trainee, Jeramy Dietz.

This will be our last operational briefing with Planning Operations Section Chief Trainee, Jeramy Dietz.

We want to thank the community of Parachute, CO for allowing us to serve you. Further information on the Spring Creek Fire can be obtained from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit starting tomorrow.

Map of the Spring Creek Fire for July 11, 2023.
Map of the Spring Creek Fire for July 11, 2023.

Jared Hohn, Incident Commander
Date reported: June 24, 2023
Cause: Under investigation
Size: 3,286 acres
Containment: 50%
Total personnel: 480
Location: Southwest of Parachute, CO

July 11, 2023, 9:05 a.m. – Current situation: Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team Two is coordinating with the local Type 3 team to provide a smooth transition for the Spring Creek Fire. To ensure the fire is at the appropriate point for the exchange in leadership, Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team Two fire managers and firefighters are working hard to improve containment and finish strong.

Yesterday, there was minimal fire behavior and firefighters worked the edge of the fire gaining more containment. The repetition and hard work of “mopping-up”, extinguishing or removing burning material near control lines, will continue today. In addition, firefighters are back hauling equipment no longer needed and providing suppression repair, mitigating the effects of firefighting efforts. Firefighters will patrol all sides of the fire, but the north side remains more active.

Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team Two will officially transfer command of the Spring Creek Fire back to the local Type 3 team on Wednesday morning; therefore, this is our final report. Thank you for your support of the team and the firefighters.

Spring Creek Road and High Mesa Road are open to restricted traffic only. Please avoid these areas if possible and drive with caution because of increased fire traffic on the roadway.

Weather and smoke information: High temperatures, and low humidity are predicted over the next several days. Winds will be close to 20 mph. Near critical fire weather continues in the region Tuesday through Thursday. Please remain attentive to preventing any new fire starts.

Closures: Bureau of Land Management Colorado River Valley Field Office and US Forest Service White River National Forest have public land closure orders in place for the safety of public and firefighters.

Visit BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office and U.S. Forest Service – White River for closure orders.

Evacuations: There are no evacuations at this time. Residents are encouraged to register with Garfield County’s emergency notification system at: Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority (garco911.com). All evacuation orders will be conducted through the Sheriff’s office. Call recorded message line at 970-981-3401 for current evacuation information.

Temporary flight restrictions: There is a TFR (FDC 3/0215) in place for air space over the Spring Creek Fire to reduce impacts to fire aviation operators. Fire aviation response is halted or delayed if an unauthorized aircraft enters the TFR. Temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or drones. If you fly, we can’t!

Fire information phoneline: (970) 414-1772 Time: 7 a.m.–7 p.m.

Media inquiries: (970) 414-1665 Time: 7 a.m.–7 p.m.

Facebook: Spring Creek Fire 2023
Email: 2023.springcreek@firenet.gov
InciWeb: Spring Creek Fire Information

Starting Wednesday, 7/12: Please contact the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit for further information.

Spring Creek Fire update – July 11

Spring Creek Fire update – 7/10

Rocky Mountain Area Complex Incident Management Team Two

Jeramy Dietz with the operational briefing for July 10.
Jeramy Dietz with the operational briefing for July 10.

Operational Planning Section Chief Trainee, Jeramy Dietz with the operational briefing for July 10.

Spring Creek Fire map for July 10.
Spring Creek Fire map for July 10.

Jared Hohn, Incident Commander
Date reported: June 24, 2023
Cause: Under investigation
Size: 3,286 acres
Containment: 46%
Total personnel: 497
Location: Southwest of Parachute, CO

July 10, 2023, 9:30 a.m. – Current situation: Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team Two is beginning a transition with a local Type 3 team to transfer command of the Spring Creek Fire. This change to a smaller organization is possible due to the successful suppression efforts over the past week; additional containment; and decreased fire behavior and intensity. The two incident management teams will spend the next two days sharing knowledge, data, and observations to ensure a seamless transition while work continues on the fire.

Yesterday helicopters and engines worked with firefighters to strengthen the holding line and gain more containment. There is a good bit of repetition at this point as firefighters revisit the same areas of the fire line, checking to make sure that no pockets of intense heat remain. Called “mopping-up” this hard physical labor process is essential in extinguishing or removing burning material near control lines.

As certainty in the strength of the containment line is increased, firefighters will shift to providing suppression repair, the process of mitigating the effects of firefighting efforts like flipping displaced vegetation back to root side down and placing water bars in the fire line to prevent erosion. Firefighters will work all sides of the fire, but the north side remains a bit more active than the rest.

Spring Creek Road and High Mesa Road are open to restricted traffic only. Please avoid these areas if possible and drive with caution because of increased fire traffic on the roadway.

Weather and smoke information: Monday will be partly cloudy with a chance of virga in the morning. High temperatures, and low humidity are predicted over the next several days. Winds will be close to 20 mph. Near critical fire weather continues in the region Tuesday through Thursday. Please remain attentive to preventing any new fire starts.

Closures: Bureau of Land Management Colorado River Valley Field Office and US Forest Service White River National Forest have public land closure orders in place for the safety of public and firefighters.

Visit BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office and U.S. Forest Service – White River for closure orders.

Evacuations: There are no evacuations at this time. Residents are encouraged to register with Garfield County’s emergency notification system at: Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority (garco911.com). All evacuation orders will be conducted through the Sheriff’s office. Call recorded message line at 970-981-3401 for current evacuation information.

Temporary flight restrictions: There is a TFR (FDC 3/0215) in place for air space over the Spring Creek Fire to reduce impacts to fire aviation operators. Fire aviation response is halted or delayed if an unauthorized aircraft enters the TFR. Temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or drones. If you fly, we can’t!

Fire information phoneline: (970) 414-1772 Time: 7 a.m.–7 p.m.

Facebook: Spring Creek Fire 2023
Email: 2023.springcreek@firenet.gov
InciWeb: Spring Creek Fire Information

Spring Creek Fire update – 7/10

Spring Creek Fire update – 7/7

Rocky Mountain Area Complex Incident Management Team Two

Video clip of the Spring Creek Fire for July 7.
Video clip of the Spring Creek Fire for July 7.

July 7, 2023, 10:17 a.m. – Operational update from the Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team 2. Jeramy Dietz, Planning Operations Section Chief Trainee, gives us an overview of each division’s operational plan for the day.

Spring Creek Fire map for July 7.
Spring Creek Fire map for July 7.

Jared Hohn, Incident Commander
Date reported: June 24, 2023
Cause: Under investigation
Size: 3,200 acres
Containment: 37%
Total personnel: 535
Location: Southwest of Parachute, CO

Current situation: The Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team Two continues improving the holding lines around the fire and removing fuel from inside the perimeter. The smoke column visible yesterday was indicative of a successful burnout in the thick oak and mahogany brush on the west end where firefighters connected the fire to the holding lines.

When this incident began in late June, much of the vegetation in the fire area was still green and moist. The wind became a significant factor for fire growth because it contributed to rapid drying of the vegetation ahead of fire. With temperatures in the 90s this week, the vegetation is quickly drying out even without the effect of the wind or the fire. It’s much more receptive to burning than even a week ago. Fire behavior specialists have noted the fire responds to direct heat from sunny skies, so the lack of cloud cover in the next few days could lead to increased fire activity.

Given that fuels will continue to dry, fire managers plan additional aerial ignitions to strengthen the holding lines, further separating the fire from drying fuels. There is variation in how cured the herbaceous and woody fuels are depending on their elevation within the fire. At the 9,000’ level these live fuels are more than 200% moister than an average year, setting new records, while at the 7,000’ level the fuels are matching the historical average and are now fully receptive to burning.

Carefully planned ignitions inside the holding lines will deprive the fire of fuel and limit the opportunity for winds to escalate the fire. The plan for today is to keep tying the fire into the holding line by burning out small units at a time.

Spring Creek Road and High Mesa Road are open to local traffic only. Please avoid these areas if possible and drive with caution because of increased fire traffic on the roadway.

Weather and smoke information: Clear skies, high temperatures, and low humidity are predicted for the next several days. Winds will be close to 15 mph. A strong inversion will again develop overnight and burn off as the day warms. Near critical fire weather continues in the region. Please remain attentive to preventing any new fire starts.

Closures: Bureau of Land Management Colorado River Valley Field Office and US Forest Service White River National Forest have public land closure orders in place for the safety of public and firefighters.

Visit BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office and U.S. Forest Service – White River for closure orders.

Evacuations: There are no evacuations at this time. Residents are encouraged to register with Garfield County’s emergency notification system at: Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority (garco911.com). All evacuation orders will be conducted through the Sheriff’s office. Call recorded message line at 970-981-3401 for current evacuation information.

Temporary flight restrictions: There is a TFR (FDC 3/0215) in place for air space over the Spring Creek Fire to reduce impacts to fire aviation operators. Fire aviation response is halted or delayed if an unauthorized aircraft enters the TFR. Temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or drones. If you fly, we can’t!

Fire Information Phoneline: (970) 414-1772 Time: 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Facebook: Spring Creek Fire 2023
Email: 2023.springcreek@firenet.gov 
InciWeb: Spring Creek Fire Information

Spring Creek Fire update – 7/7

Rifle PD: Wanted fugitive search continues

Rifle Police Department

On July 5, 2023, at approximately 4 p.m. Garfield County Sherriff’s Deputies were attempting to make contact with an individual with felony arrest warrants for a violent assault in the area of South Whiteriver and 7th St. South in Rifle Colorado. Bradley Wilczek, the male subject fled from police and a search ensued. Rifle Police Officers, Garfield County Sherriff’s Deputies, and  SPEAR officers searched the area for Wilczek for several hours. At approximately 8:40 p.m., acting on a tip that the suspect was inside his residence, a search warrant was granted. A search of the residence was executed with the assistance of the Garfield County All Hazards Response Team, but Wilczek was not inside.

Bradley Wiczek is a wanted felon. Wiczek, born in 1982, is a white male, with brown hair, and green eyes, 5′ 6″ tall weighing 180 pounds, and a single-leg amputee. If you see Wiczek please call 911.

We would like to thank the residents of Southwest Rifle for their patience and understanding as we worked the area late into the night. We’ve had several witnesses come forward with information. If you have any information or video regarding this incident please contact Garfield County Dispatch Center at 970-625-8095.

At this time there is no elevated risk to the public but we do want to remind everyone to lock your home and vehicle doors and windows. This investigation is ongoing with an outstanding arrest warrant. Updates will be released as we are able.

All suspects are considered innocent until adjudicated guilty in a court of law.

July 5 incident report

Rifle PD: Wanted fugitive search continues

Spring Creek Fire update – 7/6

Rocky Mountain Area Complex Incident Management Team Two

July 6, 2023, information video on the Spring Creek Fire.
July 6, 2023, information video on the Spring Creek Fire.

July 6, 2023, 11:13 a.m. – Operational Briefing with Jeramy Dietz for the Spring Creek Fire.

Spring Creek Fire map for July 6.
Spring Creek Fire map for July 6.

Jared Hohn, Incident Commander
Date reported: June 24, 2023
Cause: Under investigation
Size: 2,958 acres
Containment: 37%
Total personnel: 535
Location: Southwest of Parachute, CO

July 7, 2023, 9:43 a.m. – Current situation: The Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team Two made good progress and improved holding lines around the fire during yesterday’s calm winds. On the west side of the fire, crews were able to widen containment lines, further securing that edge. The favorable weather conditions provided crews with an opportunity to ignite unburned fuel on the northeast side, connecting the burned area to the prepared holding line of Dry Creek Road. Pumps, hoses, and water tanks are staged near the holding lines so firefighters can quickly access and use these tools as needed. Fire managers increased night crew staffing and shifted the night assignment from monitoring the edge of the fire to actively working the line to limit fire growth.

The addition of more night staff and more firefighters working close to active fire increases the risk of injury. Fire managers look for ways to mitigate those risks and provide for firefighter safety. To address this, an extraction route was built on the east side of the fire to provide rapid transport out via all-terrain vehicle if needed. On the extremely steep and remote south side, crews were pulled back from the area during Tuesday’s high winds. Helicopters transported them back in yesterday where they will spend several nights sleeping near the fire in spike camps. This common practice eliminates travel time to and from distant work locations. While this increases the efficiency in their work day, this creates other logistical needs: food and water must be transported in, and medical personnel join the spike camps to provide field treatment of minor issues and evaluation of those with greater needs.

Today there is a Red Flag Warning for the region, but the Spring Creek Fire perimeter is outside the area of highest concern. Over the fire, winds are predicted under 20 mph. This may allow some additional burning of ground fuels to help further secure the line. The aspect of the slope where the ignitions are planned is also sheltered from the prevailing wind direction. Fire managers will closely be watching conditions, but they are still confident any added fire on the landscape will remain contained. Firefighters will continue to secure the perimeter of the fire addressing pockets of heat and preventing spread.

Spring Creek Road and High Mesa Road are open to local traffic only. Please avoid these areas if possible and drive with caution because of increased fire traffic on the roadway.

Weather and smoke information: Clear skies, high temperatures, and low humidity are predicted for the next several days. Winds will be close to 20 mph. A strong inversion will develop overnight and burn off as the day warms. Near critical fire weather is expected in the region. Please remain vigilant in preventing any new fire starts.

Closures: Bureau of Land Management Colorado River Valley Field Office and US Forest Service White River National Forest have public land closure orders in place for the safety of public and firefighters.

Visit BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office and U.S. Forest Service – White River for closure orders.

Evacuations: There are no evacuations at this time. Residents are encouraged to register with Garfield County’s emergency notification system at: Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority (garco911.com). All evacuation orders will be conducted through the Sheriff’s office. Call recorded message line at 970-981-3401 for current evacuation information

Temporary flight restrictions: There is a TFR (FDC 3/0215) in place for air space over the Spring Creek Fire to reduce impacts to fire aviation operators. Fire aviation response is halted or delayed if an unauthorized aircraft enters the TFR. Temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or drones. If you fly, we can’t!

Fire information phoneline: (970) 414-1772 Time: 7 a.m.–7 p.m.

Spring Creek Fire update – 7/6

Spring Creek Fire update – July 5

Rocky Mountain Area Complex Incident Management Team Two

A video on the Spring Creek Fire for July 5.
A video on the Spring Creek Fire for July 5.

July 5, 2023, 11:28 a.m. – Operational update from the Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team 2.

Jeramy Dietz, Planning Operations Section Chief Trainee, gives us an overview of each division’s operational plans for today.

Spring Creek Fire map for July 5, 2023.
Spring Creek Fire map for July 5, 2023.

Jared Hohn, Incident Commander
Date reported: June 24, 2023
Cause: Under investigation
Size: 2,940 acres
Containment: 37%
Total personnel: 544
Location: Southwest of Parachute, CO

July 5, 10:18 a.m., – Current situation: The Rocky Mountain Complex Incident Management Team Two tactical plan for yesterday’s challenging weather conditions proved to be effective. Strong gusty winds began around 3 p.m., but the cloud cover kept the fire from heating up excessively. Overall fire behavior was relatively calm, burning through the underbrush.

Several days of drying conditions have increased the chances of smaller vegetation igniting and carrying fire; however, the larger fuels, like live trees, remain too moist for the fire to climb up the branches and torch. Torching can throw embers into the air and travel greater distances on the wind. In contrast, the creeping fire behavior is helpful in removing fuels from the area. Late in the afternoon, because conditions were appropriate, fire managers implemented the plan to ignite the dense oak scrub and mahogany brush on the northeast side of the fire. Using drones—unmanned aerial systems (UAS)—operators can strategically apply fire to the landscape from a safe distance. The plastic spheres dropped by the UAS contain a combustible chemical combination that ignites the vegetation. The purpose is to burn fuels under the most advantageous conditions and rob the fire of materials that could burn much hotter under drier conditions. If the test fires burn as expected and conditions remain favorable, there may be additional burnout operations inside the contingency lines.

Firefighters will continue to work the perimeter of the fire to address pockets of heat and prevent spread. Overnight infrared flights identify areas of intense heat, allowing firefighters to target the hottest spots. Night crews work to secure the edge of the fire, taking advantage of the cooler, moister night air. Crews are working all hours and all sides of the Spring Creek Fire to maintain control, and no containment issues are expected.

Spring Creek Road and High Mesa Road are open to local traffic only. Please avoid these areas if possible and drive with caution because of increased fire traffic on the roadway.

Weather and smoke information: Mostly sunny skies, high temperatures, and low humidity are predicted for today. Winds will be light at 5-15 mph. Near critical fire weather is expected to return Thursday through Sunday with high temperatures and gusty winds. Residents must remain vigilent in preventing any new fire starts that would pull resources away from the Spring Creek Fire.

Closures: Bureau of Land Management Colorado River Valley Field Office and US Forest Service White River National Forest have public land closure orders in place for the safety of public and firefighters.

Visit BLM Colorado River Valley Field Office and U.S. Forest Service – White River for closure orders.

Evacuations: There are no evacuations at this time. Residents are encouraged to register with Garfield County’s emergency notification system at: Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority (garco911.com). All evacuation orders will be conducted through the Sheriff’s office. Call recorded message line at 970-981-3401 for current evacuation information

Temporary Flight Restrictions: There is a TFR (FDC 3/0215) in place for air space over the Spring Creek Fire to reduce impacts to fire aviation operators. Fire aviation response is halted or delayed if an unauthorized aircraft enters the TFR. Temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft system (UAS) or drones. If you fly, we can’t!

Fire Information Phoneline: (970) 414-1772 Time: 7 a.m.–7 p.m.

Facebook: Spring Creek Fire 2023 
Email: 2023.springcreek@firenet.gov 
InciWeb: Spring Creek Fire Information

Spring Creek Fire update – July 5