Thunderstorms, high winds expand Peekaboo blaze 75 miles west of Craig
Several new wildfires began to burn Saturday across Colorado, joining a number of fires that were already burning headed into the weekend. Fire crews worked to contain the growth of several large fires in northern Colorado, but erratic winds played havoc with the largest wildfire in the extreme northwest corner of the state.
Peekaboo f ire
Passing thunderstorms brought strong winds late Friday, spreading the fire in the state’s northwest corner in numerous directions. According to a federal interagency wildfire website, the acreage of the fire jumped from 11,700 to 12,675 on Saturday with 5 percent containment.
Crews focused on the southeast corner of the fire, which is approximately 75 miles west of Craig. Firefighters and air resources focused on structure protection and keeping the fire north of Colorado 318.
Firefighters and air crews on Saturday worked to build containment lines where feasible. The Colorado Army National Guard said it would send two UH60 Black Hawk helicopters equipped with water buckets to the fire. Each of the buckets is able to dump 500 gallons of water, or fire retardant, at a time.
Two CH-47 Chinook helicopters will be on standby at Buckley Air Force Base to help fight any of the fires burning across Colorado.
Wilson f ire
A new wildfire was discovered Saturday morning in Rio Blanco County, 8 miles north of Meeker along County Road 9, according to a wildfire tracking website. The fire had grown to 204 acres by Saturday evening and was threatening oil and gas operations along with unspecified structures. There were six air tankers attacking the blaze.
The Rio Blanco Sheriff’s Office reported that it is on the scene of the fire, along with Meeker Fire and Rescue, and that the fire is burning along Wilson Creek. It is asking people not to call 911 if they see smoke from the fire — updates will be made on social media.
After the Wilson fire started Saturday morning, another fire in Rio Blanco County was reported in the afternoon. The Bureau of Land Management tweeted that the Deer Gulch fire was burning 21 miles southwest of Meeker. There was no acreage attached to the size of that blaze.
Peak 2 f ire
Firefighters made progress fighting the Peak 2 fire on Saturday, increasing containment of the 84-acre blaze from 25 percent to 52 percent. Favorable weather conditions helped firefighters build containment lines on the northwest and southeast flanks of the fire on Friday.
Although Peak 7 residents were allowed home Friday night, areas west of State Highway 9 from Cucumber Gulch and Valley Brook north to the Iron Springs construction site remained on a pre-evacuation notice.
Peaks Trail, Gold Hill, Wheeler, Miners Creek trails remain closed. Parts of the Colorado Trail are closed where overlap occurs with trail closures in the area.