Lake Christine Fire crews work most active section; update has fire at nearly 9,700 acres |

Lake Christine Fire crews work most active section; update has fire at nearly 9,700 acres

The Lake Christine Fire on Saturday as seen from across the valley on Crown Mountain.
Scott Condon / The Aspen Times

Crews focused Saturday on working the northwest corner of the Lake Christine Fire with numerous helicopter water drops and slurry drops as the fire grew by nearly 1,000 acres, officials said.

In a Saturday night update, the fire was up to 9,672 acres and dropped to 32 precent containment (down from 59 percent). It was reported at 8,800 acres Saturday morning.

“One thing that is really important to remember is that all of the containment line that we’ve established up to this point is all still intact,” Paul Duarte, Operations Section Chief of the Rocky Mountain Team Black, said in an update Saturday evening. “There has been no loss of containment line, but you’re going to see a loss in the percentage of containment due to the fact that we’ve had growth up in (the northeast area) today.”

He added that Saturday crews dropped eight loads of fire retardant in the northern area ahead of the fire to protect some cabins in the Cattle Creek area.

Firefighters also worked Saturday to safe-guard the Missouri Heights and Seven Castles areas, according to the update.

The new incident management team Friday started to cut fires lines as a precaution to protect residences in the lower Fryingpan Valley and sent additional personnel into the northern edge to stunt growth, officials said at a community meeting Friday night. That work continued Saturday morning.

“(Crews) will work to extend this line down a ridgeline toward the Fryingpan River,” according to an update Saturday morning. In addition, equipment is being prepared and set up to protect the Seven Castles neighborhood “if the fire pushes to the southeast.”

The fire was previously was reported at 8,315 acres after Thursday’s flyover, and the most active area remains to the north and northeast, above the Missouri Heights community.

A pre-evacuation notice remains for Missouri Heights, Cedar Creek, Toner Creek, Seven Castles and Taylor Road residents. Cedar Drive is on the hillside above Basalt. Seven Castles, with 100-plus homes, is in the lower Fryingpan Valley.

White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams said he spent Friday with the new team surveying the burn area “figuring out how we can go after this fire as safely as possible but as effectively as possible.”

“We hope we can slow things down a little bit with the strategy we have,” he said.

This is a developing story that will be updated.

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