Peak 2 evacuees go home
Residents near Breckenridge told to remain alert in case fire grows again
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.