Peak 2 evac­uees go home

Res­i­dents near Breckenridge told to re­main alert in case fire grows again

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Joella Bau­mann Peak 2 fire Gut­zler f ire Mill Creek f ire East Rim f ire Peek­a­boo f ire Staff writer Kieran Ni­chol­son con­trib­uted to this re­port.

Nu­mer­ous wild­fires are con­tin­u­ing to spark up and scorch the West. Higher than nor­mal tem­per­a­tures and ex­tremely dry ter­rain have caused five fires across north­ern Colorado.

Of­fi­cials have said the high heat, low hu­mid­ity and er­ratic winds have helped to keep fires burn­ing. Smoke from the fires has also prompted an air qual­ity ad­vi­sory for Ea­gle and Sum­mit coun­ties, as well as south­ern parts of Grand County.

The Colorado De­part­ment of Health and En­vi­ron­ment has been pro­vid­ing air qual­ity up­dates with ex­pected wind di­rec­tion and smoke set­tle­ment up­dates.

Evac­uees of the Peak 2 fire near Breckenridge were al­lowed to go home Fri­day at 8 p.m. fire of­fi­cials an­nounced.

The res­i­dents re­turn­ing will have to be alert and they’re back home un­der a pre-evac­u­a­tion no­tice, ac­cord­ing to the Sum­mit County Sher­iff”s Of­fice.

The area en­com­passes residences west of Colorado High­way 9, from Cu­cum­ber Gulch and Val­ley Brook Road to the south, and the Iron Springs con­struc­tion site to the north, the sher­iff’s of­fice said.

“Based on weather fore­casts and fire be­hav­ior pre­dic­tions, the cur­rent po­ten­tial for sig­nif­i­cant fire spread will re­main low through the week­end,” the sher­iff’s of­fice said in an evening news re­lease. “Progress to­wards full con­tain­ment of the fire is very slow due to the ter­rain and high den­sity of dead trees so con­di­tions could change.”

Res­i­dents were no­ti­fied of the highly-an­tic­i­pated change at a public meet­ing in Breckenridge on Fri­day at 6 p.m. to a wide round of ap­plause.

“Wild­land fire con­di­tions can change rapidly and the public should be pre­pared to evac­u­ate should the need arise,” said Un­der­sh­er­iff Joel Cochran.

“We feel that this change, based on the lat­est mod­els, is a sen­si­ble bal­ance be­tween safety and public con­ve­nience.”

The Peak 7 neigh­bor­hood will re­main on pree­vac­u­a­tion sta­tus un­til fur­ther no­tice.

Early Fri­day af­ter­noon smoke was spot­ted on Mount Baldy south­east of Breckenridge and re­spond­ing fire of­fi­cials found a spot fire of half an acre on North Fuller Place.

Jim Keat­ing, chief of Red, White and Blue Fire, said the sec­ond fire spot­ted to­day, the Mount Baldy fire, re­ported at about 12:20 p.m., was started by an unat­tended camp fire.

A pre-evac­u­a­tion no­tice for Baldy Moun­tain neigh­bor­hoods was lifted later Fri­day.

14 miles south­west of Kremm­ling, the Ea­gle County fire, which had burned just over 300 acres on Wed­nes­day has surged to con­sume over 1,000 acres with 3 per­cent con­tain­ment. He­li­copters will be used to to con­duct wa­ter bucket drops on hot spots, but the fire is be­ing heav­ily fu­eled by dead and downed trees.

The Bureau of Land Man­age­ment has is­sued a tem­po­rary clo­sure of the Ra­dium camp­ground and boat launch due to the fire. Cur­rently no struc­tures are threat­ened and no other evac­u­a­tions or of­fi­cial clo­sures are in place.

Fire crews are con­tin­u­ing ef­forts to con­tain this 460-acre fire which started Satur­day. The fire is burn­ing mainly on pri­vate prop­erty 13 miles north­east of Hay­den. Three struc­tures are threat­ened by the fire but fire crews con­tinue to make progress in con­tain­ing the fire ac­cord­ing to the Routt County web­site which re­ported 30 per­cent con­tain­ment.

The most sig­nif­i­cant is­sues with this fire are pock­ets of spruce, tim­ber lines and log piles (left over from log­ging op­er­a­tions that used to be con­ducted in the area) that flare up and cre­ate spot fires be­yond the con­trol mea­sures be­ing de­vel­oped. Some back-burn­ing has been done the last cou­ple of days to help re­duce the avail­able fuel and he­li­copter wa­ter drops con­tinue to be em­ployed.

Smoke could be an is­sue in the sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties. The CDPHE web­site re­ported that winds are pri­mar­ily out of the west and that overnight ar­eas of mod­er­ate to heavy smoke will likely re­main in ru­ral parts of Routt county along the Mill Creek drainage.

Lo­cated 10 miles north­east of Dove Creek, the fire caused by light­ning has grown to 690 acres ac­cord­ing to web­sites track­ing the fire. The blaze is eight per­cent con­tained by Fri­day af­ter­noon. A crew of 75 fire­fight­ers is con­tin­u­ing burn out op­er­a­tions and work­ing to se­cure For­est Ser­vice Road 220.

Fire­fight­ers have main­tained five per­cent con­tain­ment of this 8,000 acre wild­fire, but it is be­ing re­ported as hav­ing ex­treme be­hav­ior by web­sites track­ing its progress. Lo­cated in north­west­ern Mof­fat County, the fire is blaz­ing near a wildlife habi­tat and sev­eral his­tor­i­cal struc­tures at Pablo and Matt springs. A crew of 97 fire­fight­ers is work­ing to keep pri­vate residences along U.S. 34 out of jeop­ardy as well.

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