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Middle Fork Fire Fact Sheet 9/18/2020
Today’s Situation: The fire has approached to within approximately one mile of the Mount Zirkel Wilderness boundary in the Middle Fork drainage and on the ridge north of South Fork drainage. Structure protection planning, and trail and road clearing continue. Firefighters’ objective is to fully contain the Middle Fork Fire, while keeping public and firefighter safety as the highest priority. Its Wilderness location, heavy fuels, and hazardous conditions limit options for direct attack. Use of aerial resources to drop water over hot spots helps reduce intensity and slows the fire’s advance while crews prepare control features where they have the highest probability of success. Visitors need to avoid entering the area closure (see Forest Closure below) for their own safety and to allow firefighters to focus on fire operations, rather than visitor management.
Weather: Partly cloudy with isolated showers possible in the afternoon. Highs today are predicted to be in the lower 60s. Down-valley winds of 5 - 10 mph this morning will shift to southwest winds of 10 - 18 mph, gusting to 30 mph this afternoon. Relative humidity will be higher at 22 -27%. Chance for scattered showers over the next several days.
Fire Behavior: Cloud cover, cooler temperatures, and higher humidity tend to calm fire behavior; however, gusty winds can cause flare-ups and toss burning embers into unburned fuels. Crews will be watchful over the next several days for any changes and new fire activity, keeping helicopters ready for action when weather allows them to fly. The Incident Management Team expects this full suppression fire to burn until a persistent seasonal change of weather arrives.
Firefighting Resources: Approximately 96 personnel are assigned to the fire, including four helicopters (2-Type 1 and 2-Type 3) and a fixed-wing air attack to help coordinate aerial operations.
Evacuations: There are no evacuation or pre-evacuation orders in effect. If the fire were to reach any pre-identified management action points, it would trigger Routt County to initiate pre-evacuation orders through their reverse-911 system. To sign up for alerts, visit http://routtcountyalerts.com.
Forest Closure: Routt National Forest has expanded its closure area. The closure boundary follows Mount Zirkel Wilderness boundary on east. On the south it follows Trail 1132 (Newcomb Creek), Trail 1101 (CDNST), the Wilderness boundary, and Trails 1100 (Swamp Park), 1140 (Saddle), and 1171 (Red Dirt). On the west it follows the boundary between National Forest and private lands east of Big Creek from Red Dirt Trailhead to Trail 1176 (Roaring Fork) and continues north along the Wilderness boundary. On the north it follows the North Fork Drainage up to The Dome, east to Lost Ranger Peak, CDNST, and Trail 1131 (Lost Ranger). Trails 1131, 1132, 1166, and 1140 are open. Portion of Trails 1100 and 1171 are open where they follow the closure boundary, closed where they enter the closed area. No roads or trailheads are closed.
Closed trails include:
Fire Restrictions: Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in effect in Routt and Jackson counties, on all of the Routt National Forest, and across much of Northwest Colorado.
Information for the Middle Fork Fire in the Routt National Forest, north of Steamboat Springs, can be found on Twitter, @FS_MBRTB and InciWeb https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7153/.