Fire near Ruedi Reservoir now 65 percent contained
The Freeman Fire burning near Ruedi Reservoir is now 65 percent contained. There was minimal growth Tuesday and zero growth overnight and the fire is holding at approximately 348 acres, the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management reported Wednesday.
Two Type I Hotshot crews from Utah “timed out” — meaning they worked a maximum number of days and hours — at the end of their Tuesday night shifts, so they are now heading back to their home unit. Due to the fire area receiving snow overnight, the remaining hand crews demobilized early Wednesday morning.
Additionally, the remaining aerial resource, a Type III helicopter, was released Wednesday morning to assist other fires in Colorado. The fire was on schedule to transition to a Type IV Incident Commander because of the high containment percentage and the minimal resources needed on the fire, the agency reported.
“We are in the winding down stages of the Freeman Fire,” said Kevin Warner, U.S. Forest Service District Ranger. “Firefighters and cooperators did great work over the past few days, and we are now at a point where we are releasing resources. It’s likely that this fire will not be declared out until a large snow event. Until then, we will move the fire to a monitor status and keep a close eye on it until the winter season arrives.”
On Tuesday night, the southern part of the fire received an inch of snow and the northern part of the fire received approximately 2 inches of snow. The snow will help subdue smoldering activity and wisps of smoke in the northern aspen stand. Firefighters continue to monitor the northern part of the fire from a distance due to the presence of snags and dead trees. Morning mop-up activities were limited because of wet and muddy conditions created by the recent snowfall. Crews engaged in rehab and mop-up activities throughout Wednesday afternoon.
Four engines and 10 firefighters will remain in the area monitoring the fire throughout the weekend.
The Freeman Fire is still considered active and the fire area is dangerous. Recreationists and hunters are advised to avoid the area until the Aspen-Sopris Ranger District deems it safe. Updates on the Freeman Fire can be found on Inciweb, http://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5067, or on the White River National Forest Facebook page or Twitter.
The Aspen-Sopris Ranger District thanks the Basalt and Rural Fire Protection District, Eagle County Sheriff’s Department, Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department, Snowmass-Wildcat Fire Protection District, Aspen Fire Protection District and the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District for cooperator support throughout the incident.