Incident Commander: Norm McDonald
Start Date: 08/10/2020
Location: Glenwood Canyon
Fire Size: 32,464 acres
Total Personnel: 548
(EAGLE, Colo.) – As predicted, warmer, drier conditions prevailed over the Grizzly Creek Fire, a trend that is forecast to continue and peak on Saturday with temperatures climbing to 90 degrees. However, control lines continued to hold strong on Thursday, as firefighters labored to build more containment line and strengthen existing line.
There was no change in acreage burned for the fifth day in a row while estimated containment climbed a single percent to 83%. Of the 78.5 miles of containment line around the fire, approximately 65 miles have been secured. Much of the remaining uncontained line will stay that way because it is too dangerous for firefighters to access.
“We’re on track to have suppression operations completed by Sunday,” reported Karen Scholl, operations planning chief for the Alaska Incident Management Team, which has command of the fire.
Even with temperatures in the mid 80s and relative humidities dipping into the 20% range, the fire showed little sign of life Thursday. A few visible smokes popped up behind Bair Ranch on the southeast side, as well as in the Grizzly and No Name creek drainages on the northwest corner. The heat in both areas was addressed with helicopter water drops. Interior portions of the fire will continue to put up random smokes until a season-ending rain or snow event.
With fire activity at a minimum, the main focus now is on repairing dozer lines constructed during initial and extended attack, commonly referred to as “suppression repair.” There are six excavators and six dozers tackling line rehab. So far, 31 miles of line have been repaired and there are another 7.5 miles pending. There are another 27.5 miles of potential line that are being assessed. Most suppression repair should be complete this weekend, with the exception of Transfer Trail Road. That last piece will take at least another week of work, Scholl said.
The hot, dry conditions will continue through the holiday weekend before a drastic change in the weather early next week. Forecasters are calling for sub-freezing temperatures and possible snow by Wednesday night as a cold front moves into the area late Monday. However, given the weekend forecast, fire managers say it is imperative that hunters, campers and others celebrating the holiday weekend be extremely careful with any activity that could spark a wildfire. A statewide fire ban remains in effect because of the tinder dry conditions in much of Colorado.
Fire closure areas were reduced on Thursday by the White River National Forest and BLM Colorado River Valley office. Coffee Pot and Transfer Trail roads remain closed, as well as areas of the Flat Tops Wilderness accessed by those roads. A new closure order and map for both agencies can be found on the White River NF website. For public and firefighter safety, motorists, recreationalists and hunters are asked to adhere to the closures.
Interstate 70 remains open. Expect periodic delays for firefighting operations and possible flash floods in the event of heavy rain. Go to cotrip.org for information on interstate closures.
A Temporary Flight Restriction (TFR) is in place over the fire. Go to https://tfr.faa.gov for details.