Crews respond to 50-acre wildfire near Sylvan Lake south of Eagle
Eagle Valley Enterprise
EAGLE — A wildfire had consumed approximately 50 acres between Eagle and Ruedi Reservoir on Wednesday afternoon.
The fire — officially called the Red Table Fire — is located in the Antones Cabin Springs Drainage, a remote area southwest of Sylvan Lake and southeast of LEDE Reservoir, roughly 20 miles north of Ruedi Reservoir.
According to Greater Eagle Fire Department Chief Kurt Vogel, the fire was first reported shortly after noon and local fire crews were dispatched to the site between 12:30 and 1 p.m.
“The park rangers (at Sylvan Lake State Park) were the ones who first saw the smoke,” Vogel said.
Vogel said initial reports estimated the size of the fire at 1.5 acres and local crews from Eagle and Gypsum initially went out to battle the wildfire.
“Then the fire weather changed and we weren’t comfortable with having people up there,” Vogel said.
By mid-afternoon, the U.S. Forest Service had assumed control of the fight. Air tankers from Grand Junction were called in and made several slurry drops by 4 p.m.
According to the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit, after receiving a report of smoke and flames in the area, dispatch immediately launched initial air attack and one engine.
One engine and one helicopter arrived by 3:30 p.m. and two Type 2 hand crews were en route to the fire. Three heavy air tankers were dispatched to the area along with smaller, two-seat planes. Eight smoke jumpers were dispatched out of Grand Junction. One Type 1 Hand Crew also was dispatched.
Hot, dry and windy conditions contributed to increased fire danger, and red flag warnings have been present in the area throughout the week and are expected to persist.
Campers warned, not evacuated
Campers at Sylvan Lake were warned that they might be evacuated from the area, but prevailing winds pushed the fire away from the lake camping area. Shortly after 3:30 p.m. crews from Colorado Parks and Wildlife shut down vehicle access to Sylvan Lake. People who already had set up campsites in the area were allowed to return to their belongings, but other vehicles were turned back at the Y-intersection at the fork of East Brush Creek and West Brush Creek.
Emergency personnel plan to spend the night in the area and approximately 100 people from several jurisdictions including the U.S. Forest Service, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, Greater Eagle Fire and Gypsum Fire planned to bed down at one of the day-use areas at Sylvan Lake to monitor the fire overnight.
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A speeding car on Tuesday morning crashed into and destroyed part of the winter closure gate on Maroon Creek Road.