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Middle Fork Fire Fact Sheet 9/22/2020
Acres: 6,187 Incident Commander: Brandon Voegtle, Type 3 IMTFire Information: 970-724-3027 Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/7153/
Today’s Situation: The fire continues to work its way downslope and upwind through timber stands on the ridges north and south of Middle Fork drainage. Single-tree and group torching events peak in the late afternoons. Helicopters are keeping fire intensity in check when flare-ups occur. There has been no notable movement on the eastern perimeter for some days. Crews are focused on planning for structure protection and preparation of indirect control lines - clearing along trails, linking meadows, rocky areas, and lighter fuels that offer the highest probability of successful fire containment. Firefighters’ objective is to fully contain the Middle Fork Fire, while keeping public and firefighter safety as the highest priority. The fire’s location, heavy fuels, and hazardous conditions limit options for direct attack.
Weather: Mostly sunny this morning, turning partly cloudy, and brining a chance of showers and thunderstorms this afternoon. Highs in the 60s with relative humidity at 21 - 26%. Light down-valley winds this morning shifting to west winds 5 - 10 mph. Gusty, erratic winds associated with thunderstorms this afternoon.
Fire Behavior: The onset of fall, with shorter days and cooler temperatures, and recent higher humidity tend to calm fire behavior; however, thunderstorms often bring gusty winds that can cause flare-ups and toss burning embers into unburned fuels. Crews are alert for changes, 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 (two Type 1 and two 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 Sheriff’s Office to initiate pre-evacuation orders through their reverse-911 system. To sign up for alerts, visit http://routtcountyalerts.com. The county provides tips for wildfire preparedness, including planning for pets and livestock, on their website at http://www.co.routt.co.us/309/Fire-Safety-Tips-for-Rural-Residents.
Forest Closure: Routt National Forest has issued an area closure. 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), 1140.1A (Saddle Cut-off), 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/.