By Staff 6-23,2016
Winds continued to push the Beaver Creek Fire to the east on Wednesday and the burned acreage estimate is now 7,000 in Jackson County, Colo. The fire, which began last Sunday on the Routt National Forest, is firmly established on BLM-managed Independence Mountain.
Crews will continue night operations on Wednesday in preparation for the management transfer on Thursday morning to Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Blue (Esperance). The growing complexity of the fire has prompted the reclassification of the incident from Type III to Type II.
Staffing levels continue to grow and are now over 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. Two dozers, four strike teams of engines, three hand crews, and various other single resources from local and cooperating agencies have been involved in fire management operations.
Forecasted temperature for Thursday is 80, with light winds from the west/southwest to 10 mph, and a 40% chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon.
The fire is burning primarily in heavy timber with a high percentage of beetle kill, and in some areas of grass and sagebrush.
Fire location is approximately 15 miles northwest of Walden, Colo. and two miles south of the Colorado/Wyoming state line.
One minor firefighter injury was reported during Wednesday’s operations; a cut from a saw that required stitches.
40 residences or cabins are currently at risk from the fire. Concerned cabin owners or local residents should contact the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department at (970) 723-4242.
Closures are in place for the following areas/recreation sites/roads: Big Creek Lakes Recreation Area (including both upper and lower Big Creek Lake, and Big Creek Lakes Campground), the area east of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness boundary, south of Forest Road 681 and south of Forest Road 80. All of Independence Mountain is closed, Beaver Creek and Seven Lakes Trailheads, County Road 6W, as well as Forest Roads 80 (Hog Park Road), 600, 681, and 689.
Firefighter and public safety remain the highest priority in the incident.
The cause of the Beaver Creek Fire remains 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.