Stage 2 Fire Restrictions go into effect for Moffat County one minute after midnight tonight, after approval from the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners Tuesday. The vote was unanimous after hearing from Moffat County Fire Chief and Sheriff KC Hume.
The Board of Routt County Commissioners did the same, voting unanimously to move Routt County into Stage 2 Fire Restrictions.
No open fires, no campfires, no smoking outside, no tracer rounds used at shooting ranges. Just to make sure everyone knows the rules, Colorado Governor Jared Polis also banned campfires and fireworks across the state of Colorado for the next 30 days as well.
Federal officials are saying that 100 percent of Colorado is abnormally dry this month, or under drought conditions for the first time in eight years.
Pine Gulch Fire courtesy inciweb.
Pine Gulch Fire – 86,120 or 134 square miles. More than 800 people are trying to stop the fire which is still 7 percent contained. It’s burning 18 miles north of Grand Junction in Garfield and Mesa counties. Soon to become the third largest wildfire in Colorado’s recorded history.
Grizzly Creek Fire – 25,007 or about 40 square miles; 0% contained. I-70 is still closed in both directions. 647 people are fighting the fire.
Williams Fork Fire – 6,345 acres, or about 9.9 square miles and 1% contained. It’s burning about seven miles southwest of Fraser in a remote area with intensive beetle kill from the early 2000s. This fire was not started by lightning. Investigators are saying it was sparked by humans, they don’t’ know who or how yet.
Cameron Peak Fire – 13,305 acres or 20.8 square miles. It’s burning in the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in heavy timber and rugged terrain. Highway 14 in the Poudre Canyon is closed due to heavy traffic from fire crews accessing the area. About 298 people are working the fire.
Rifle Fish Hatchery fire burned three acres Sunday night but was fully in control by Monday morning. Firefighters have been monitoring the hot spots and the hatchery is still closed.
The Craig Police Department has released information to local media on a Sexually Violent Predator moving to Craig. They’ve asked that the public be notified. 46-year-old Melvin J. Rowton is moving to 555 1st Avenue in Craig. He is required to register with local law enforcement and then re-register every 90 days for life. Questions can be directed to Detective Sergeant Cameron at Craig Police. The full notification is on the KRAI Facebook page.
The Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon has jumped I-70 and the Colorado River. I-70 has been closed. Traffic is being re-routed, with a lot of it going through Moffat and Routt Counties, on Hwy 40. Amtrak and Union Pacific trains are also not going through the Canyon and being re-routed through Wyoming.
Weather conditions are hot, dry, and windy which means extreme fire conditions. The Grizzly Creek Fire has burned over 6,500 6,251 acres at zero percent containment. Five helicopters and multiple air tankers are working the fire with 211 personnel.
Conditions are the same for the Pine Gulch Fire which has burned over 68,323 acres at seven percent containment. It is 18 miles north of Grand Junction in Mesa and Garfield Counties. 658 people are working the Pine Gulch Fire.
Both of these fires are bringing smoke and ash to Northwest Colorado and the Yampa Valley. Be aware of air conditions and advisories by going to www.PurpleAir.com
The air has not been good in Northwest Colorado because of the wildfires in neighboring counties. People have seen smoke, and ashes have been flying through the air. Here’s Moffat and Routt County Public Health Medical Officer Dr. Brian Harrington
Dr. Harrington says to avoid cardiovascular activities outside. People with pre-existing conditions need to be careful. Be aware of long-term exposure over multiple days. And masks that are well-sealed will help. You can check the air quality for Northwest Colorado at PurpleAir.com There is an air level monitor in Meeker and in Steamboat Springs, Rangely, and Oak Creek.
Moffat County has had a spike in COVID-19 cases. Moffat County Public Health is reporting six new cases of COVID-19 since Friday. One is a male in his 20s who tested out of state in late June, but those results have just been reported to Moffat County. The others are two female teenagers, and then three men, in their 20s, 60s, and 70s. Three of the people had reportedly been in close contact with each other. This does not include the Moffat County residents who are associated with the staff cases at The Haven Assisted Living Facility in Hayden. The number of tests administered in Moffat County now is 1,722.
Routt County has administered 6,736 tests, with 125 positive cases.
Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon. Photo courtesy Glenwood Springs Fire Dept.
Craig and Moffat County can expect heavier traffic than normal. That’s because I-70 is closed in Glenwood Canyon because of the Grizzly Creek Fire. It’s being re-routed north, to Highway 40. Glenwood Canyon was closed all night because Colorado Department of Transportation has to assess two bridges near the fire, and do rockfall mitigation. Over 1,300 acres have burned. Smoke from the Pine Gulch Fire north of Grand Junction is also floating our way. That fire has burned close to 30,000 acres. Link: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6942/
The Pine Gulch Fire continues to burn out of control north of Grand Junction and into Garfield County. It’s now at over 24,000 acres and seven percent contained. That’s why it’s smoky in the Yampa Valley. It started from lightning on July 31. An Air Quality Health Advisory was issued over the weekend for the wildfire smoke.
A Meeker man died Friday evening in Rio Blanco County Road 7, about 12 miles northwest of Meeker. 71-year-old Allen Maybury was on a 2020 Harley Davidson motorcycle when he went off the side of the road on a curve, and down an embankment. Maybury was wearing a helmet. Colorado State Patrol is investigating.
Another person has died from COVID-19 at the Haven Assisted Living Facility in Hayden. It’s owned and operated by Northwest Colorado Health. A resident who had tested positive there passed away on Aug. 6. This is the second death of a resident at The Haven because of COVID-19 There have been seven positive cases among residents there and four cases among the staff.
In Routt County, there have been 110 positive cases with eight deaths with 6,736 tests administered. The case count in Routt County remains at medium spread, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
Moffat County is reporting 26 positive cases with two still active and one death.
The Moffat County Fair runs through the weekend. On Thursday afternoon in the Livestock Arena, 16-year-old Michael Voloshin won Grand Champion for Market Beef.
Ross, that big, black Grand Champion steer, weighed in at 1,371 pounds. Voloshin’s second steer named Playboy, won Grand Champion Reserve.
No high school football will be played at Moffat County High School this fall. Colorado High School Activities Association, or CHSAA, has come out with its sports and activities schedule for the upcoming school year, for the whole state. It has been rearranged to Seasons A, B, C, and D. Season A starts next week, with Cross Country and Boys Golf. Season B starts January 4, with basketball, girls swimming, and wrestling. Season C is girls volleyball, boys soccer, and football. Most start March 1, but football gets to start practicing in late February. The final season is Season D with the rest of the sports, most of which are typically played in spring. Here is the full schedule:
Three fires are now burning in North Moffat County. One fire is in Irish Canyon. About 82 acres have burned since Saturday when lightning hit. Four helicopters are working it along with 51 people. It’s about 20 percent contained. Mary Beth Pecotte is the Public Information Officer for the Bureau of Land Management. She says crews are working on improving the hand lines they’ve made. And they’re mopping up.
Irish Canyon is County Road 10 and it is open, but the campground there is closed. It’s the Incident Command Post.
The Pots Creek Fire is about 65 percent contained, burning 235 acres. It’s between Brown’s Park and Dinosaur, accessible through Vernal, Utah. It was also started by lightning.
A third fire is the Stateline fire, which also started Saturday on the far north boundary of Moffat County, along the Wyoming State Line. Grass and sage brush has burned 16.5 acres there.