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Middle Fork Fire Fact Sheet 9/14/2020
Today’s Situation: Crews have completed structure assessments and are working on clearing trees that have fallen across roads and trails used by firefighters and the public around the fire area. Crews are also mitigating fuels around Rainbow Lake Campground and preparing helicopter landing zones in case they are needed. Firefighters are on the ground near the fire monitoring and reporting fire activity and taking on-site weather readings. An aerial mapping flight is scheduled to occur today, which will provide updated acreage. Visitors are asked to avoid the closed area within the Mount Zirkel Wilderness (see Forest Closure below).
Fire Behavior: Yesterday saw increased fire behavior with smoke production visible from many locations around the fire area. The fire is backing through heavy dead and down timber, with single tree torching and group tree torching. An old burn scar to the north and the Continental Divide to the east are natural barriers that limit the fire’s ability to spread in those directions. Prevailing winds are pushing the fire into those natural barriers. The fire is slowly backing to the west in isolated areas. As weather and fuels continue to dry out and heat up, increased intensity of fire behavior and smoke production is expected, especially during the mid- to late afternoon hours. The Incident Management Team expects the fire to burn until a persistent seasonal change of weather arrives.
Fuels and terrain: Middle Fork Fire is burning in heavy timber with a large percentage of standing and down dead trees over steep, rugged, high-elevation terrain.
Weather: Highs today are predicted to be in the 70s with southwest winds of 10 to 15 mph and relative humidity dropping to 12 – 17%.
Firefighting Resources: Approximately 95 personnel are assigned to the fire, including three helicopters (1-Type 1 and 2-Type 3).
Forest Closure: A Routt National Forest closure is in effect within the Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area – closure area follows Wilderness boundary on east and west; on the south it follows the Wilderness boundary, Trail 1101 (CDNST) and Trail 1132 (Newcomb Creek); and on the north it follows Trail 1131 (Lost Ranger), CDNST south to Lost Ranger Peak, west to The Dome, and down the North Fork drainage. Trails 1131 and 1132 are open. No roads or trailheads are closed.
Closed trails include:
Fire Restrictions: Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in effect in Routt County, on the Routt National Forest, and across 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/.