Thun­der­storms, high winds ex­pand Peek­a­boo blaze 75 miles west of Craig

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - By Joella Bau­mann and John Aguilar

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.

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