Fire danger very high as Summit County officials respond to multiple small blazes in the Summit area
No structures are threatened by fire near Interstate 70
Three wildfires in less than 24 hours have Summit County fire officials worried.
Things got started Thursday, June 10, when local fire districts increased the fire danger level from low to very high — something Summit Fire & EMS spokesperson Steve Lipsher said he has never seen.
“In one day, we jumped three levels; we skipped moderate and high,” Lipsher said Thursday. “… Our humidity is really low for whatever reason. We’re dry, dry, dry.”
Since then, officials have responded to multiple reports of fire ignitions.
Summit Fire crews responded to a small grass fire in Dillon near the Red Mountain Grill on Thursday. Lipsher said officials believe the fire was started when power lines touching each other sent a shower of sparks to the ground, but the fire never grew more than a couple yards in size. That blaze was quickly extinguished by nearby residents.
Then on Thursday afternoon, crews responded to the Straight Creek Fire, which ignited off Interstate 70 between Dillon and the Eisenhower/Johnson Memorial Tunnels. The fire grew to 15 or 20 acres Thursday, and crews worked to contain it throughout the night. As of Friday morning, White River National Forest spokesperson David Boyd said the fire hasn’t been very active but that he expects it to ramp up as the day warms and winds increase.
The National Weather Service forecast for Dillon shows a high of 78 degrees Friday and wind speeds of 7 to 9 mph, with gusts as high as 16 mph. Winds are expected to calm Friday night, but the forecast shows temperatures above 80 degrees through the weekend.
Boyd said the cause of the fire is still under investigation and that he is not aware of any injuries. There is currently no immediate threat to structures.
Boyd said there were roughly 65 crew members on-site to help with containment efforts, which include three engine crews and three helicopters from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management unit’s Type 3 Incident Management Team.
The fire, located near milepost 209, caused the eastbound lanes of I-70 to close at Silverthorne Exit 205 on Thursday evening. Late Thursday, the exit reopened and currently remains open, though Boyd said it’s possible the fire could cause road closures later Friday.
A social media post from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office on Friday afternoon said additional resources are being deployed to the blaze, including two Hotshot crews.
More resources are arriving to assist in fighting the Straight Creek Fire east of Dillon, Colorado. pic.twitter.com/QNSiOacGwc— SCSOPIO (@SummitSheriffCO) June 11, 2021
Another fire popped up in Silverthorne on Friday morning at Stephens Way along the Blue River Trail. Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons said by the time he arrived at the scene, the fire was largely taken care of. Lipsher said the Silverthorne fire was human-caused but that it is still under investigation.
“It just seems to be one thing after another,” Lipsher said.
Fire crew is on scene on Stephens Way along the bike path. pic.twitter.com/W4PH65vPz1— Town of Silverthorne (@SilverthorneCO) June 11, 2021
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Crews promptly contained a small blaze that broke out next to the Castle Creek bridge just west of Aspen on Sunday afternoon after a transformer caught on fire.