Middle Fork Fire Fact Sheet 9/23/2020
Incident Commander: Brandon Voegtle, Type 3 IMT
Fire Information: 970-724-3027
Today’s Situation: The fire received a slight amount of rain yesterday evening. The fire is expected to continue following heavy fuels, flanking and backing to the northwest and to the south, along the ridges north and south of Middle Fork drainage. Rocky areas and changes in fuels are stalling fire growth on the eastern portion of the fire perimeter. Given the fuels and hazardous conditions for crews, incident managers are looking out ahead of the fire for natural features that can be used to hold its advance, while protecting values at risk. Areas with rocky outcrops, or where fuels shift to aspen, oak, or meadow offer the highest probability of successful containment. Crews are clearing along trails as potential indirect holding opportunities and planning for structure protection. Firefighters’ objective is to fully contain the Middle Fork Fire, while maintaining public and firefighter safety as the highest priority.
Weather: Mostly sunny with highs around 70. Relative humidity 18 - 23%. West winds 10 mph, gusting to 20 mph in the afternoon.
Fire Behavior: The start of fall brings shorter days and cooler temperatures, which discourage intense fire behavior. However, when wind aligns with fuels and slope, increased fire activity is expected. Heavy fuels remain extremely dry, making them highly receptive to fire. 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 104 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:
- Appx. 10 miles of CDNST from 1132 to 1131
- 1130 Rainbow Lake
- 1179 Roxy Ann Lake
- 1099 Ditch Creek
- 1100 and 1100.4A Swamp Park (within Wilderness Area only)
- 1118 Elk Park
- 1168 Luna Lake
- 1168.1 Fish Hawk Lake
- 1170 Chilton
- 1182 Crags
- 1184 Big Creek Lake
- 1171 Red Dirt past Trail 1140 intersection
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.
Fire Information: 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/.