Hunt Fire near Meeker continues to grow; now over 2,500 acres |

Hunt Fire near Meeker continues to grow; now over 2,500 acres

Craig Press staff report
The Hunt Fire in Rio Blanco County reached 2,500 acres near Meeker.
Courtesy Photo

MEEKER — Northwest Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit announced Monday that personnel continue to manage the Hunt Fire on Bureau of Land Management land about 26 miles southwest of Meeker in Rio Blanco County, at an estimated 2,578 acres.

Lightning ignited the fire on Thursday, Sept. 5. It is remotely located, burning in thick brush on ridges and valleys north of the Roan Plateau.

Firefighters continue to focus on protecting values at risk, including several isolated historic cabins and dispersed oil and gas facilities, a Monday fire unit news release stated. “Fire managers’ objective is to keep the fire north of the Rio Blanco/Garfield County line, south of an oil pipeline that is located north of the fire, east of Hunter Creek and west of West Willow Creek.”

Sally Lou Johnson, a local adjacent landowner whose BLM grazing allotment is within the burned area, appreciates the fire’s benefits.

“The brush and trees in that area are so overgrown, it’s difficult to get animals in and out, and the junipers are so thick that hardly any grass grows under them,” Johnson said in the release. “The firefighters have been terrific. They saved every one of the livestock troughs along Big Jimmy Ridge.”

The release added that the “patchy mosaic burn” pattern will increase the diversity of ecosystems on the landscape.

“A more diverse landscape can support a wider variety of wildlife species. Big game and livestock will more easily be able to move through the area, and new vegetative growth will provide for greater and improved forage,” the release said.

An area closure is in effect to provide for firefighter and public safety in the area around the wildfire. The area closure includes public lands and routes within an area north of Rio Blanco/Garfield County line, east of Hunter Creek Road, west of West Willow Creek Road, and extending north to County Road 5. This includes Big Jimmy Gulch.