Lake Christine Fire update: Containment at 94 percent, switched to ‘monitor status’ | AspenTimes.com

Lake Christine Fire update: Containment at 94 percent, switched to ‘monitor status’

Officials working the Lake Christine Fire near Basalt said Tuesday the fire is 94 percent contained and they are moving to "monitor status," meaning there are no suppression efforts going on.

The change in status came Saturday and was announced Tuesday through the Lake Christine Fire page on Facebook. While there are no active operations going on, the fire will continue to be patrolled by the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit.

"The Lake Christine Fire will remain at 94 percent containment until a season-ending weather event occurs like multiple days of rain or snow," according to the update.

Kate Jerman, public information officer for the White River National Forest, said Tuesday that kind of precipitation would "get rid of the remaining heat and would leave us feeling much better about the area."

Officials had said previously they didn't expect the fire to be totally out until late October.

The containment increase is due to more accurate heat mapping. The fire had been listed as 90 percent contained since late July. The fire, which has burned more than 12,500 acres, started July 3 at the Basalt firing range.

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The fire has not increased in size in weeks. Any smoke is well within the containment area and up high on the northern part of Basalt Mountain, Jerman said, in heavier timber.

"That fuel type can hold heat for longer periods of time and that is where we are seeing some residual smoking and smoldering occurring especially on warm, dry days," she said.

If people see smoke they do not need to call authorities because the ongoing patrols and firefighters will remain "vigilant over the area," Jerman said.

The number of firefighers, mainly from the forest service and BLM, will depend on the weather conditions, she said.

The uncontained section is on the fire's upper east side and located in steep, inaccessible terrain where it is difficult and unsafe to place firefighters.

All emergency area closures remain in effect. The overall cost to fight the fire is expected to be about $18.5 million, officials said previously.

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