Lake Christine Fire Day 6 update: Evacuation lifts going well; fire 30% contained |

Lake Christine Fire Day 6 update: Evacuation lifts going well; fire 30% contained

Staff report
Keith Brink, operations sections chief, explains on a map what's happening in each area at the community meeting at Basalt High School on Saturday evening regarding the Lake Christine Fire.
Anna Stonehouse/The Aspen Times

Residents were lined up Sunday morning well before the time that officials said they were allowed to get back into areas of El Jebel that were evacuated Wednesday night as the Lake Christine Fire streaked toward town.

Eagle County Sheriff James Van Beek said that the first of Sunday’s two evacuation lifts went smoothly as only residents of the El Jebel Mobile Home Park were allowed to go back at 8 a.m. Sunday.

“Everyone was extremely anxious,” Van Beek said. “Everybody and their brother was there. Everyone wanted to get back home.”

The next evacuation lift was at 2 p.m. for residences on Big Pinon and Little Pinon drives, the Shadow Rock complex, Original Road, Pine Ridge condominiums, Sagewood Court, Hillcrest, Silverado and Two Rivers Road for access to Hillcrest near Basalt.

Just after that and before the community meeting, a rainstorm with strong wind gusts pelted the midvalley area. It was a sign of good things to come.

At the daily community meeting at Basalt High School, fire commanders said the fire is about 30 percent contained, which was the goal announced at Friday’s meeting, and has burned about 5,900 acres.

They also announced another round of evacuations lifts for Monday, and all the road inside the town of Basalt will be open by Monday afternoon. There will be parts still closed that go into county land.

Officials are conducting phased opening of neighborhoods so the electrical grid isn’t overwhelmed and Black Hills Energy can get gas service restored.

More evacuations will be lifted Monday morning at 8 a.m. Residents on Sopris Drive and all areas lower in the Hill District will be allowed home. Additionally Two Rivers Road into Basalt also will reopen.

While around 1,400 people in Basalt and El Jebel are ready to return to their homes today and Monday, Van Beek estimates that closures still affect about 300 residents as the evacuation order remains in effect in Missouri Heights east of Upper Cattle Creek Road, the Wilds complex in Basalt and the Basalt streets of Cedar, Pinon and Ridge.

5,916 acres have burned and the Lake Christine Fire remains at 8 percent contained, according to the last update on the fire, given Saturday at 9:30 p.m.

There will be another community meeting at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Basalt High School with additional updates on evacuations, fire growth and containment.

After Saturday’s community meeting, officials reported that a firefighter had been injured while fighting the blaze. The local firefighter, whose name has not yet been released, suffered broken ribs after rolling down a hill.