East Troublesome Fire increases to over 100,000 acres, causes Rocky Mountain National Park to close
The East Troublesome Fire ran about 20 miles Wednesday night and Thursday morning as the blaze ballooned to 125,602 acres.
A Type 1 team took over command of the fire at 6 a.m. this morning. In a morning update, fire officials said the fire grew about 100,000 acres with the available fuels quickly spreading flames into difficult terrain north of Granby and into Rocky Mountain National Park.
The rapid movement of the blaze led to hundreds of evacuations along US Highway 34 north of US 40, including Grand Lake. The fire has grown to the fourth largest in Colorado history.
“Really an amazing amount of fire spread yesterday,” said Noel Livingston, the incident commander.
Definitive damage reports were hard to come by Thursday morning, but the C Lazy U Ranch is believed to be affected.
“The East Troublesome Fire crossed (Colorado Highway 125) on Wednesday, Oct. 21, and we believe C Lazy U Ranch was impacted,” the ranch said in a Thursday morning statement.
“We’re still assessing damage to the property and will provide more information as we have it, but are grateful to report that the ranch preemptively and safely evacuated all guests, members, staff and ranch animals last week as a precaution.”
Knowing it would take some time to move the roughly 200 horses at the ranch C Lazy U got all the animals and workers out ahead of the flames with help from people in the community.
“Our deepest gratitude goes out to the Grand County community, firefighters, first responders and authorities who are working diligently to keep the Ranch safe,” the statement added.
The incident commander said that today’s efforts will be largely focused on evacuations and protection of structures and community, while there’s little relief in the immediate weather forecast.
“Unfortunately, today is another fire day,” Livingston said, adding that the fire management team anticipates another day of large growth.
The East Grand School District, which has canceled classes, is offering sack lunch and food distribution today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in front of Middle Park High School for anyone who needs it. Counseling is also available at the high school 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today in person or by telehealth. Call the high school at 970-887-2104.
The superintendent said staff and teachers will spend the day reaching out to all students to make sure they are safe and secure. They will also be offering help and support where needed.
Rocky Mountain National Park has shut down to all visitors due to the fire. Officials described the air quality as “hazardous” within the park and added that Trail Ridge Road is not passable due to downed trees on the road.
This past election season Colorado voters supported the legalization of psilocybin mushrooms, the second-only state to do so. What will this mean for the Roaring Fork Valley?