UPDATE: I-70 in Glenwood Canyon remains closed as wildfire tops 3,200 acres; fire jumps Colorado River

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
An airtanker drops fire retardant slurry on the ridge directly above No Name after the Grizzly Creek Fire broke out inside Glenwood Canyon just east of Glenwood Springs on Monday afternoon.
Chelsea Self/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

UPDATE 7 p.m. Tuesday — The Grizzly Creek Fire burning east of Glenwood Springs has burned nearly 3,200 acres since starting Monday afternoon, and it is zero percent contained, fire officials said in an update Tuesday evening.

The incident command team said in its update the fire is moving “in multiple directions.”

“Hot, dry weather combined with dry fuels and a windy afternoon pushed the Grizzly Creek Fire in multiple directions,” according to the update. “The fire crossed the Colorado River and Interstate 70 this afternoon, establishing itself on the south side. Within the canyon most of the firefighting effort took place from the air again today.”

There are 211 personnel working on the fire, which includes two very large air tankers (VLAT), multiple large air tankers, four heavy helicopters and one medium helicopter.

Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon as well as Cottonwood Pass to the south of the canyon remain closed. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

On Wednesday, the Rocky Mountain Type 2 Incident Management Blue Team will assume command of the fire, officials said late Tuesday.

The incident command team for the Grizzly Creek Fire said in a post just after 1:40 p.m. that the fire was moving uphill on the south side of the Colorado River. The command has expanded evacuation notices to include the residents of Lookout Mountain as well as a pre-evacuation of Bair Ranch.

The fire has crossed the river upstream of the Grizzly Creek exit and has established on the south side of the Colorado River and I-70, according to an update from incident command.

The city of Glenwood Springs has shut off the No Name water diversion source and is pumping water from the Roaring Fork River pump station due to the Grizzly Creek Fire.

“This is out of an abundance of caution to protect the water supply from fire retardant being used on the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon,” according to a city press release. “Residents are asked to refrain from watering lawns for the next 48 hours. Additional restrictions may be issued later.”

Residents of the unincorporated No Name neighborhood, which has been evacuated, are also advised not to drink water, as their system has been switched over to the creek water, neighborhood association board member Sherry Caloia said.

Updated Grizzly Creek Fire map as of 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020.

Cottonwood Pass will remain closed overnight Tuesday as a semi that rolled off the road early Tuesday morning has not been removed. The recovery of the tractor trailer has been called off tonight, a Colorado State Patrol trooper said Tuesday evening. “This has been done for safety reasons and unknown timeframe when it will be recovered.  Cottonwood Pass remains closed, local traffic only,” said Trooper Jacob Best.

UPDATE 1 p.m. Tuesday — The Grizzly Creek Fire Incident Command has directed an evacuation notice for the residents of No Name. The Glenwood Springs Community Center is the emergency relocation point and shelter at this time, according to the latest from the fire command.

UPDATE 10:30 a.m. Tuesday — More than 120 firefighters are now working the Grizzly Creek Fire, with more resources on the way, according to the latest update from the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management command.

“Firefighters are working to keep the fire out of the No Name drainage as well as on the north side of the Colorado River,” according to the latest post. “Terrain is very rugged, limiting where we can safely put firefighters on the ground.

“Crews are focusing on point protection in the No Name area on the west side, including accessing structures and prepping areas should the fire reach the area.”

The No Name area remains on pre-evacuation notice, and residents are asked to be prepared to leave in the event the fire moves in that direction.

Firefighting crews are also working on point protection in the Shoshone area to the east of the fire. Aircraft continues to be work the fire from above.

Firefighters are scouting areas for containment lines on top in the Flattops, and evacuating campers and other recreationists from the Coffee Pot Road area and other areas in the Forest Service closure area north of the fire.

The fire is still reported to be at 1,300 acres, but a more accurate acreage estimate was expected after a morning mapping flight.

“We expect fire activity to increase as the day warms and the humidity drops,” according to the latest Facebook update.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Grizzly Creek Fire incident command says that Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon is to remain closed in both directions between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum until further notice.

“We will have more information after morning briefings.We do not have an estimated time for reopening,” according to a Tuesday morning post to the official incident Facebook page.

Regular fire updates will be posted there, and the latest on the I-70 closures and suggested alternate routes can be found at

The Colorado Department of Transportation advises that the backcountry Cottonwood Pass dirt road is not to be used as a bypass. The I-70 closure is also intended to allow for inspection of the elevated westbound section where the fire burned, and to check for rockfall hazards within the fire area.

“The fire was active last night,” the latest post announced. “The community of No Name is under pre-evacuation, which means residents should be ready to evacuate.”

The fire started at about 1:30 p.m. Monday in the median between the eastbound and the elevated westbound lanes near the Grizzly Creek rest area and hiking trail, five miles east of Glenwood Springs. It involved about 60 firefighters and numerous aircraft.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

En Espanol

I-70 Glenwood Canyon estará cerrado por la noche. Puede entrar y salir de Glenwood Springs hacia downvalley, pero no puede entrar en Glenwood Canyon, incluidos No Name, Grizzly Creek y Bair Ranch.

El CDOT solicita a los automovilistas que planifiquen que la I-70 en Glenwood Canyon se cierre durante la noche el lunes 10 de agosto. El cierre de seguridad es para permitir que los especialistas del CDOT evalúen dos puentes ubicados cerca de donde comenzó el incendio de Grizzly Creek, como así como un mayor riesgo de caída de rocas en Glenwood Canyon.

Se ha informado de un aumento de la caída de rocas y probablemente se deba a que la vegetación quemada ya no mantiene las rocas en su lugar.

El CDOT pide que los automovilistas * no * usen Cottonwood Pass como un desvío, debido a la actividad de los incendios.Los autobuses de RFTA están funcionando.

Residentes de Eagle y Gypsum: esta noche cierre sus ventanas si es posible.

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