Aircraft battling 150-acre Roan Plateau fire near Rifle

The Water Creek Fire, about 10 miles northwest of Rifle, is burning in heavy timber. PHOTO COURTESY U.S. FOREST SERVICE.

Windy, dry weather leads to increased fire danger across western Colorado

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY ā€” A 150-acre fire burning at an elevation of 9,000 feet on the Roan Plateau shows that fire danger is increasing quickly even at the higher elevations of the Colorado River Basin.

About 100 firefighters are battling the lightning-sparked Water Creek fire. The blaze, about 10 miles northwest of Rifle, was sparked by lightning and reported Saturday. No structures are threatened. Strong winds and dry conditions kept the fire burning all weekend. Fire officials expect the fire will continue to be active and grow over the next few days. It is burning in heavy timber in rugged terrain, with a high amount of blowdown in the vicinity of the fire.

More photos and maps after the break …

Fire officials said the fire is not carrying well through sage meadows on the fringe of the forest. PHOTO COURTESY THE U.S. FOREST SERVICE.

Some spot-fires are occurring up to half a mile away from the main blaze, but aspen stands and sage meadows in the area are not carrying the fire, according to InciWeb.

Public access to the Roan Plateau has been closed at the JQS Road and at the Cow Creek/Divide Road intersection. Hubbard Mesa below the Roan Plateau remains open.

Firefighters are carefully managing the fire with firefighter safety as the highest priority. Firefighters are allowing some areas to burn, while suppressing it at roads and strategic natural barriers.

A number of aircraft worked the fire today, including a light helicopter, a heavy helicopter, a single engine air tanker, a heavy air tanker and two support airplanes. Four engines are on-scene, and additional crews have been ordered.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for western Colorado, which indicates the risk of fire spread is high.

A map showing the approximate location of the Water Creek fire near Rifle, Colorado.

Because of the high fire potential throughout the Upper Colorado River area, fire officials with the Upper Colorado River Fire Management Unit are urging the public to be extremely careful with fire. The Water Creek Fire is actively burning at about 9,000 feet elevation, clearly indicating that fire danger is not limited to low elevations.

In particular, ensure that all campfires are completely extinguished before leaving camp.
Get more information on the Water Creek Fire from the Incident Information System.

Follow the Twitter feed on the fire here.

Get Summit County information on wildfire mitigation here.

The Summit County Wildfire Council supports Summit Voice coverage of forests and wildfires. Click the image for more information
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