Colorado wildfires update: Pine Gulch, Grizzly Creek, Cameron Peak and Williams Fork fires

Fire crews continued to make progress on containing the four large wildfires burning from Colorado’s Western Slope to the Continental Divide.

Containment has increased steadily on the two largest wildfires — Pine Gulch and Grizzly Creek — as fire officials turn their worry to potential flash floods that can come as a result of rain falling on the scorched soil.

Click here to skip to a specific fire: Pine Gulch fire | Grizzly Creek fire | Cameron Peak fire | Williams Fork fire | Wildfire map

Pine Gulch

Updated as of 9:45 a.m.

The Pine Gulch fire outside Grand Junction grew minimally Wednesday, as it burns 135,958 acres, or 212 square miles, with 53% containment, fire officials said in a Thursday morning Facebook post.

Fire activity outside the fire perimeter is expected to be limited again Thursday due to successful containment lines, officials said, with most of the burning coming on the interior where it does not pose a threat.

A control line in the East Salt Creek area is holding well, officials said.

The recent successful efforts on the Pine Gulch fire have allowed fire managers to release some equipment and personnel to assist other fires in the state, where the need is great, officials said.

“The overall focus on the Pine Gulch Fire is quickly shifting from fire suppression to suppression repair,” officials said, which involves minimizing damage to soil, water and other resources linked to fire suppression.

Thunderstorms on Wednesday prompted a brief flash flood warning for the eastern half of the fire, with small amounts of debris visible near Kimball Creek Road, officials said.

More thunderstorms are possible Thursday, with a 15% chance of rain, and wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour. The tradeoff for the much-needed rain is the chance for flash flooding and debris flow, officials siad.

“While there has been moisture in the area, its effects will be short term because of continued drought conditions,” officials said. “Any new fire starts in the vicinity still have the potential for growth.”

Grizzly Creek

Updated as of 9:45 a.m.

The Grizzly Creek fire near Glenwood Springs remained stable overnight Wednesday, as it burns 32,304 acres, 50 square miles, with 61% containment, fire officials said in a Thursday morning Facebook post.

Light precipitation Wednesday had fire crews worried about flash floods in the burn area, but ultimately heavy rains never developed, officials said.

“However, the situation highlighted concerns about the potential for flooding and debris flow in the Glenwood Canyon due to the fire,” officials said.

Helicopters on Wednesday dropped water on hot spots in the No Name and Grizzly Creek drainages on the northwest edge of the fire to allow firefighters to asses the area — one of the fire’s remaining troublesome spots, officials said.

Fire behavior overall remained tame Wednesday, officials said.

Interstate 70 remains open after a two-week closure, but officials said driver can expect periodic delays.

Cameron Peak

Updated as of 9:45 a.m.

The Cameron Peak fire grew to 22,845 acres — 36 square miles — after an overnight flight over the fire, officials said in a Thursday morning Facebook post.

Fire activity was limited Wednesday by cooler temperatures and isolated rain, officials said.

Thursday’s forecast calls for warmer and drier weather, which will increase fire activity, especially near the Colorado 14 corridor, officials said, and crews are ready to protect structures if they become threatened.

Williams Fork fire

Updated as of 9:45 a.m.

The Williams Fork fire grew slightly overnight Wednesday, as it burns 11,992 acres, or 19 square miles, with 5% containment, fire officials said in a Thursday morning Facebook post.

Moderate weather Wednesday — including slight precipitation and increased humidity — allowed fire crews to make progress on containment and fire control measures, officials said.

Crews worked on constructing fire lines west of Fraser near the Beaver Mountain and Moose Run subdivisions.

Weather on Thursday is expected to be dryer, with a chance of isolated thunderstorms, and forecasts show more dry weather into next week.

Residents in the Fraser Valley have not been issued evacuation orders, while a wide swath of U.S. Forest Service land west of Fraser and Winter Park remains closed.

Wildfire map

Click markers for details, use buttons to change what wildfires are shown. Map data is automatically updated by government agencies and could lag real-time events. Incident types are numbered 1-5 — a type 1 incident is a large, complex wildfire affecting people and critical infrastructure, a type 5 incident is a small wildfire with few personnel involved. Find more information about incident types at the bottom of this page.

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