Type 3 incident management team will mop up the fire Friday
Driven by high winds, a wildfire in Keystone, Colorado runs up a steep hillside in Keystone Gulch. PHOTO COURTESY STEVE LIPSHER, LAKE DILLON FIRE-RESCUE.
Smoke blowing uphill in Keystone Gulch.
By Bob Berwyn
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SUMMIT COUNTY — Flames from a wind-driven wildfire Thursday (June 2) at Keystone burned to within 150 feet of homes near the mouth of Keystone Gulch, where about 20 residences were evacuated, according to Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue.
Soda Ridge Road was re-opened about 9 p.m. and residents were expected to return to their homes Thursday night, said Steve Lipsher, spokesman for Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue. Some residents left without power because of blown transformer were offered free rooms at Keystone Resort for the night.
Lipsher said firefighters prioritized structure protection in the early stages of the attack at the risk of losing a few more acres of forest to the flames — a strategy that paid off in a big way.
“Those homes were definitely imperiled,” he said.
The fire will be turned over to a Type 3 incident management team first thing Friday morning. Lipsher said a helicopter has been requested in case the fire flares up Friday morning.
The fire may have started around some slash piles at the mouth of Keystone Gulch. Winds of up to 40 mph quickly drove the blaze up the steep hillside where it burned in live and dead lodgepole pine stands and amid cliffs. Given the terrain, Lipsher estimated it could take four days to finish mopping up the hot spots.
The fire hazard was rated as low this morning, but the strong, gusty winds and low relative humidity have upped the risk of the fire moving quickly into standing dead forests and dead grasses recently uncovered under melting snow.
According to the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, the evacuations affected residents along Soda Ridge Rd. and East to Wild Irishman Rd. including the homes located along Wild Irishman Rd. A shelter was set up at the Keystone Lodge Convention Center. An update will be provided at 8 p.m.
Smoke and flames at the Keystone Gulch wildfire Thursday afternoon. PHOTO COURTESY STEVE LIPSHER, LAKE DILLON FIRE-RESCUE.
Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Jeff Berino helps coordinate the response at the June 2 Keystone Gulch Fire. PHOTO COURTESY STEVE LIPSHER, LAKE DILLON FIRE-RESCUE.
Smoke from the fire at Keystone Gulch is visible from Landfill Road, in Summit County, Colorado.
A small wildfire is burning near the mouth of Keystone Gulch, in the center of the picture, where Keystone Gulch Road runs down to the southwest.
Filed under: Colorado, Dillon Ranger District, forest fires, forests, Summit County Colorado, US Forest Service, White River National Forest | Tagged: Colorado news, Colorado wildfires, Keystone Colorado, Keystone Gulch wildfire, Keystone wildfire, Summit County News | 2 Comments »