Crews battle Vail Valley’s Red Canyon II fire to a standstill |

Crews battle Vail Valley’s Red Canyon II fire to a standstill

Randy Wyrick
Vail Daily
Red Canyon II Fire Size: 26 acres as of 5 p.m. Monday, July 9. Cause: Unknown. Containment: 30 percent Start date: Sunday, July 8. Location: Approximately 2.5 miles east of Wolcott. Fuels/topography: Sage, mountain shrub, grass with some pinyon-juniper. No fly zone: Aerial operations are ongoing. Refrain from hang gliding and paragliding in the area. Additionally, refrain from flying drones in the area. Remember, if you fly, they can’t. Smoke: Smoke from the fire may be visible along the Interstate 70 corridor. Evacuations: Evacuations for Red Canyon Estates were lifted at 6 p.m. Monday, July 9. Closures: The entrance to Red Canyon Estates remains closed to the public due to fire operations. Residents may return, but must present valid identfication to Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies who are patrolling the area. Source: U.S. Forest Service Fire Evacuation Check List • Have at least 1/2 tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times. • Flashlight, portable radio. • Round up your pets: Get them secured and ready to go into the car with no way of escape before they are loaded into the car (this is especially important with cats). • Make a prior arrangement to contact a neighbor or friend who might be available to help you in an evacuation situation with loading or driving a second or third vehicle or to help with large animals such as horses/penned animals, etc. • Have pet carriers, leashes, food bowls, food, litter boxes, litter and other pet needs ready to go and ready for car (store in a secure place so these are easily loaded into the car). • Have very important files, back‐up disks, plug‐in USB virtual drive, small compact file box ready to go. • Include such things as homeowner’s policy, auto policies, life and investment files, bank records, legal documents, licenses, etc. (or store in a fireproof safe or fireproof bunker). • Computer CPU (hard‐drive most important) if you have no back‐ups. • Photograph albums, photo CDs, etc. Have these ready, packed, stored in a secure place to go immediately into car (or store in a fireproof safe). • Cameras and expensive jewelry or important electronic devices. • Suitcase filled with old but useable clothing, socks, underwear, jackets, sweatshirt, extra shoes, etc. • Keep this packed ahead. Include a bag for him and for her of toiletry items, including deodorant, disposable shavers, extra toothbrushes, shampoo and shaving cream, toothpaste, extra regular medications to last a few days. • If you have enough room, consider a few items from your camping or picnic supplies. • Pillows and light blankets (in case you might have to sleep outside while evacuated). • If time, draft email, send to friends and family about your intentions. • All household and car keys, wallet, handbag, cellphones and any credit cards you keep in a drawer that you might need. • Complete phone list or phone address book (snail and email), including cellphones of neighbors, family. • Special or valuable items (make your own list). • Close all windows, close all interior doors, remove curtains from area of windows. • Turn off propane gas at tank, remove barbecue propane tank, take it with you or store in a secure place such as a bunker or away from your house. Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Forest Service

WOLCOTT — Crews battled the Red Canyon II Fire to a standstill Monday, July 9.

Eagle County’s latest wildfire was 26 acres Monday morning and was still 26 acres Monday evening.

The fire was reported to be 30 percent contained as of 5 p.m. Monday, and residents of Red Canyon Estates who had been evacuated were allowed to return to their homes Monday evening.

Crews also kept the fire away from power lines that run through the area between Edwards and Wolcott.

“We are grateful for the swift and steady work of firefighters throughout the day,” said Aaron Mayville, district ranger for the Holy Cross Ranger District. “There is still work to do. We’ll have engines and crews in the area for the next few days, and patrols at night, but I’m glad we’re able to get folks back into their homes safely.”

To gain entrance, Red Canyon residents must present identification such as a driver’s license. Eagle County Sheriff’s deputies will continue to patrol the area through the night. Crews will continue fire suppression activities, conducting mop-up operations and extinguishing hot spots as they continue to secure the fire’s perimeter for the next several days.

Lightning likely sparked it
Lightning likely sparked the Red Canyon II Fire late Sunday afternoon. It grew to 26 acres overnight, up from five acres.

The fire is burning mainly sagebrush on Forest Service land, between Edwards and Wolcott, on a ridge about one-third of a mile east of the Red Canyon Estates subdivision.

To get there, crews are taking trucks and backcountry vehicles up Red Canyon Road as far as they can and hiking in from there, Mayville said.

Two other small fires were reported along Interstate 70 at around the same time that the Red Canyon II Fire was reported, the Eagle River Fire Protection District said.

Mayville said crews are approaching the fire with the classic strategy, the Three Ps.

“We have three overarching priorities with suppressing this fire — protecting people, private property and powerlines,” Mayville said. “We’re fortunate to have such strong partnerships with local cooperators and appreciate their assistance and quick action.

With dry conditions and active fire activity around the region, everyone pulling together is imperative.”

No fly zone
A Type 3 helicopter dropped water on the fire through the late afternoon and early evening Sunday and most of the day Monday.

Earlier Monday morning, someone was hang gliding or parasailing near the fire.

The pilot was flying in the normal way and along the same route that parasailing pilots fly in the Wolcott area — not directly over the fire, but near enough that if the helicopter had been flying, it could have been a problem.

It’s more common for people to fly drones over or near fires, said Kate Jerman, public information officer with the U.S. Forest

Service, who added that in her tenure with the Forest Service, she’d never seen anything quite like it.

“That’s why we tell people, ‘If you fly, we cannot,'” Mayville said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and