By Staff 6-22,2016
A wind shift on Tuesday afternoon drove the Beaver Creek Fire to the east, jumping over two main roads and establishing spot fires on BLM-managed Independence Mountain. The majority of the 3,800-acre fire remains on the Routt National Forest in northwest Jackson County, Colo.
Fire staff were working late Tuesday with Jackson County and the BLM to evacuate dispersed campers on Independence Mountain.
Due to the ever-growing complexity of the fire a management transition will take place Wednesday to a Type II Incident Command Team.
Staffing levels are now at 120 fire personnel. Air resources working the fire include two Type I helicopters, a Type II helicopter, a Type III helicopter, and an air attack plane. One tanker drop of retardant took place Tuesday evening and additional resources are on order.
There have been no accidents or injuries during the incident.
Forecasted temperature for Wednesday is 78, with light winds from the west, and a slight chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.
The fire is burning primarily in heavy timber with a high percentage of beetle kill, and spread Tuesday as a crown fire.
The fire is located approximately 15 miles northwest of Walden, Colo. and two miles south of the Colorado/Wyoming state line.
A wind shift late Tuesday afternoon changed the direction of the fire growth from northeast to east/southeast, sending a running crown fire to the east, across Forest Road 600 and across County Road 6W.
As of 5 p.m., due to extreme fire behavior and heavy smoke/high winds, evacuations became mandatory for Twisty Park and Pearl private and recreation residences.
As of 6:30 p.m., according to Jackson County Sheriff Gary Cure, everyone was successfully evacuated out of the Twisty Park and Pearl areas.
The Sheriff is highly discouraging any public travel in the fire area.
Assessment is still pending the status of private and recreation residences/structures along the 600 Road, which runs southwest from the community of Pearl to Big Creek Lakes Campground, following the run the fire made over that road on Tuesday. The road had previously been the southeast flank of the fire.
Concerned cabin owners or local residents should contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department at (970) 723-4242.
Notable closures in the area due to the fire include Independence Mountain, Big Creek Lakes Campground, Beaver Creek and Seven Lakes Trailheads, County Road 6W, as well as Forest Roads 80 (Hog Park Road), 600, 681, and 689. More closures are anticipated on Wednesday.
Firefighter and public safety remain the highest priority in the incident.
The cause of the Beaver Creek Fire is under investigation, and anyone with information on suspicious activity this past weekend in the Twisty Park area should contact USFS Officer Hannah Nadeau, 307-343-2335. The initial vehicle sought in the investigation has been cleared of suspicion.
The wildfire was reported late last Sunday afternoon, and transitioned from Type IV to a Type III incident management team on Monday. Initial response was by U.S. Forest Service, State, County engines.