Near Maybell, the Boone Draw Fire continues to burn, and has burned close to 87-hundred (8,683) acres and was at 40 percent containment Sunday. Colorado 318 has stayed open, but Moffat County Roads 46, 52, and 67 were closed. The fire is burning in the southwest portion of the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Herd Management Area. The fire is threatening the wild horse and greater sage grouse areas. About 150 personnel are fighting the fire along with many engines, dozers, graders, and specialists, and two helicopters. The fire started last Thursday on BLM land. No word on how it started.
Strong winds are fueling the Silver Creek Fire north of Kremmling. Huge plumes of smoke can be seen in Steamboat Springs, Oak Creek, and Hayden. The fire has grown to nearly 7,000 acres. Pre-evacuation notices have been issued in the Lake Agnes, Rabbit Ears Village, and Bear Mountain Ranch areas northeast of the Silver Creek Fire. And plans are being made to close Highway 40 if it is necessary. The cost to fight this fire was at $20 million dollars but that cost estimate is expected to go up.
Photo courtesy Teri Wall.
Huge amounts of smoke can be seen in Northwest Colorado. It’s a flareup from the Silver Creek Fire, north of Kremmling, and about four miles from Highway 40. Calls started coming in Wednesday afternoon, with people thinking it was on Rabbit Ears Pass. Mo Demorat is the director of the Routt County Office of Emergency Management.
Fire officials knew it could happen as most of Western Colorado is under a red flag warning, which means conditions are ideal for a fire.
Hunters and campers near Forest Service Road 100 have been evacuated. More evacuations and closures are expected to happen.
Fire conditions are critical in Northwest Colorado right now, as dry, windy conditions will develop through at least tomorrow evening. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction issued a red flag warning through at least Thursday night. A red flag warning means weather conditions are ripe for fire activity.
Students in the Moffat County School District have exceeded the state averages for student performance. Superintendent Dave Ulrich says the district performed better than last year, with a slight increase in math scores. In English literacy, seven percent more students achieved one of the top two performance levels, which met or exceeded expectations. Moffat County students exceeded the state average in grades three through 11. In 4th grade, four percent more students were higher than the state average. The focus on reading has been helped by a grant worth a little less than $1 million over three years. It gave teachers and students in grades K through 5 access to the Wonders reading program.
The Bender Mountain Fire in the Three Corners area near Browns Park is now at 70 percent contained. Geoff Liesik is the public information officer for the fire. He says it has burned just over 4,100 acres.
Liesik says the fire is human-caused.
No injuries to humans or livestock have been reported, and no structures have been lost, and there haven’t been any evacuations.
The redistricting proposal will be on the November ballot. The Moffat County School District Board of Education has made it official. If it passes, the measure will replace the current seven-district representatives with representatives from five newly drawn districts and two at-large positions. Board members also joined the Moffat County Education Association in support of Amendment 73, which is a statewide initiative that would increase taxes among high earners to boost education funding.
The Yampa River has been placed on call, for the first time ever. It is because the water is so low in the lower stretch of the Yampa, near Dinosaur National Monument. The Division of Water Resources places a call on a stream when water rights owners do not receive the amount of water they have a legal right to. When a call is in place, some water users have to reduce or stop their use in order to send enough water downstream to fulfill the older water right. The Colorado River is also low, with the lowest amount of water flowing downstream in recorded history.
A small grass fire Monday night cut power to parts of Craig for about two hours. The Craig Press reports the fire started in some grass along the highway, near mile marker 93, just across from the Craig offices for Yampa Valley Electric. Those responding to the fire were Moffat County Fire/Rescue and the Sheriff’s office, along with Craig Police. No word on what caused it.
Firefighters have been busy in Craig, Hayden, and Routt County.
The Irwin Fire is the big one right now. It is next to Routt County Road 53 south of Hayden. It has burned about 170 acres on private land. Firefighters are cutting dozer lines, and putting out hot spots. One home was evacuated. Air tankers made 24 drops on the fire, including drops on that home. West Routt, Oak Creek, Yampa, and Steamboat area Fire Protection Districts are all working it. A crew on assignment with the U.S. Forest Service is also fighting the fire.
The Murphy Fire is burning about five miles northwest of Hayden. It’s called that because it started at the Murphy Ranch, when lightning hit Friday night. That’s near the rest stop on mile marker 101 on Highway 40. One home has been evacuated and others were on pre-evacuation. About 700 acres have burned. Nine fire engines from Oak Creek, North Routt, and Steamboat Springs fire protection districts are helping the West Routt firefighters. The Craig Rural Fire Protect District firefighters are also helping fight the fire with firefighters from Bureau of Land Management based out of Craig.
Colorado State Patrol will be out in force over the Labor Day weekend. Captain Doug Conrad is with the local Colorado State Patrol. He says they’ll especially be looking for drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Captain Conrad is with Troop 4B of the State Patrol, which includes Moffat, Rio Blanco, Grand, Jackson, and Routt Counties. He said last year, they investigated seven fatal crashes and 34 other crashes related to impaired driving over the Labor Day holiday. He also wants to remind drivers to wear a seatbelt.