At almost 1,000 acres, Gutzler Fire holds steady at 20 percent containment |

At almost 1,000 acres, Gutzler Fire holds steady at 20 percent containment

Around half of personnel assigned to tend to fire to be sent to higher-priority blazes in the West

Jack Queen
Summit Daily News
The Gutzler Fire, caused by a lightning strike, grew rapidly after first being reported on July 2, but containment work and a shift to cooler weather have helped it stay put at 974 acres.
File photo

The Gutzler Fire has burned nearly 1,000 acres southwest of Kremmling, but favorable weather over the weekend has helped firefighters increase containment to about 20 percent.

Lightning first ignited the fire on July 2, and hot, dry conditions allowed it to grow rapidly in the days that followed.

Like many wildfires in the region, steep and heavily beetle-killed terrain presented a safety risk for firefighters and complicated suppression efforts. Crews were focused primarily on cutting containment lines further ahead of the fire perimeter last week.

On Friday, July 7, the fire reached those lines around the same time as a key shift to cooler, wetter weather. Since then, the fire has stayed put at around 974 acres.

“It was that change in the weather in conjunction with some really good work by our firefighters,” U.S. Forest Service District Ranger Aaron Mayville said. “They really culminated together because we had those lines tied together by the time the weather turned.”

Mayville said the weather outlook is promising for the next several days and that around half of the 108 personnel assigned to the Gutzler Fire will likely be sent to higher-priority fires across the West.

Still, he said, a major shift in the weather could re-awaken the fire, and crews will remain on scene until it is completely extinguished. That could be within the next two weeks, and smoke will likely be visible throughout that time.

“Unless something drastically changes with the weather, I think we’re in pretty good shape,” Mayville said.

The fire is burning on White River National Forest land in Eagle County 13 miles southwest of Kremmling. Less than 10 acres of private land are burning, and no evacuations have been ordered.

The Forest Service has ordered a temporary closure of Forest Road 402 for fire operations along with the Radium campground and boat put-in.

Stage 1 fire restrictions started July 7 for the White River National Forest and Bureau of Land Management, limiting campfires to developed sites and prohibiting smoking except in areas devoid of vegetation.

The Summit County government and towns of Frisco, Dillon and Silverthorne have imposed fire bans as well.

More information on the Gutzler Fire can be found on twitter, @EagleCountySO, by emailing or calling the USFS Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District Office at (970) 827-5715.

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