Transfer Trail expected to reopen this weekend as Grizzly fire dwindles

Ike Fredregill
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Charred logs lay across the slow moving Grizzly Creek after they were burned by the Grizzly Creek Fire.
Chelsea Self/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Despite recent rain and snow, a small portion of the Grizzly Creek Fire remains active and uncontained, U.S. Forest Service spokesperson David Boyd said.

“There are parts of this fire that got 8 inches of snow in the recent weeks, but we still have activity on warm days,” Boyd said. “We’ll probably need some kind of season-ending weather event, like a big rain or snow to put it completely out.”

The blaze hasn’t grown in recent days, holding steady at about 32,400 acres, but fire activity in hard-to-reach places has prevented firefighters from securing 100 percent containment.

“We’re at 91% (containment),” Boyd explained. “But, the other 9% is in some pretty rugged, nasty stuff, where it’s not really safe to have a lot of people on the ground.”

Eleven personnel are manning the fire with the help of a Type 3 helicopter. If fire activity picks up, crews use aerial buckets of water to manage the fire’s spread.

The Grizzly Creek Fire started Aug. 10, and later, fire investigators determined the blaze was human-caused.

Three structures, a cabin and two out buildings burned down in the early days of the fire, but Boyd said no other structures were destroyed.

As part of the first phase of rehabilitation, fire crews completed repair work on Transfer Trail Road north of Glenwood Springs, which the USFS plans to reopen this weekend, Boyd said.

“In some places, they put in a pretty wide contingency line,” he explained. “So, they go back in, repair it and evaluate whether it needs reseeded.”

With the help of a couple bucket loads of water, fire activity was quiet Wednesday, and Boyd said shorter days and colder nights could help keep it that way.

“We anticipate a little smoke, and we’re keeping an eye on a stretch of the Grizzly Creek drainage,” he said. “But I think it could be more of the same in the next few days.”

Using a burn-severity map created by the Burned Area Emergency Response, the USFS and fire crews are working with Glenwood, Garfield County, Colorado Department of Transportation and other stakeholders to address the long-term risk of debris-flow events within the fire area, Boyd said.