Highway 13 fire 60 percent contained, still burning | AspenTimes.com

Highway 13 fire 60 percent contained, still burning

John Colson
Post Independent
Aspen, CO, Colorado

John Colson/Post IndependentThe Bishop ranch along Highway 13 north of Rifle has been a central staging area for crews fighting a fire in the hills of the Grand Hogback, visible beyond the field behind Mike Bishop's ranch house. The fire came within a few hundred yards of the ranch before turning southeast along the line of the Hogback.

RIFLE, Colo. – A wildfire that started about 15 miles north of Rifle on Wednesday was 60 percent contained by late Friday, according to spokesman David Boyd, of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

“The fire has not moved,” Boyd said. “It’s trying to, but they’ve been able to hold it.”

He referred to more than 75 firefighters who have been battling the blaze for three days.

The size of the fire remains about 1,000 burned acres, Boyd said, and continuing windy conditions caused the fire management team to dump chemical retardants over the area Friday afternoon, though they had not used retardants earlier in the day.

He said the winds had veered a bit by Friday and were coming more from the north than from the west, as they had over the past few days.

But, he emphasized, “It’s not that the fire’s out. It’s that they’ve been able to keep it in check.”

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Ground crews continue to work at the northern end of the burn area to keep hot spots from flaring up again.

At the same time, he said, smokejumper teams are attacking the active part of the fire along the ridgetop of the Hogback, which stretches in a southeasterly line from Highway 13 east to New Castle.

Boyd predicted that the firefighting crews will be working over the weekend and beyond, as there currently is no estimated date for containment of the fire.

The equipment being used in the fire includes two fixed-wing planes, four helicopters and numerous trucks and personnel from Glenwood Springs, the Colorado River Fire Rescue Authority, Grand River Fire Protection District, the BLM and Mesa County.

jcolson@postindependent.com

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