Battlement Creek evacuations ordered as Cache Creek Fire grows to 400 acres | AspenTimes.com

Battlement Creek evacuations ordered as Cache Creek Fire grows to 400 acres

Alex Zorn
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

Aerial view of the fire from a Forest Service plane on Monday. Photo found on the Cache Creek Fire Facebook page.

The Cache Creek Fire, burning eight miles southwest of Rifle, has grown to more than 400 acres and evacuations have been ordered along Battlement Creek Reservoir Road, as the Rocky Mountain Blue Team was brought in at 6 a.m. to take over fire management efforts.

Four cabins at the top of the road, also know as Garfield County Road 302, have been ordered to evacuate as the fire grows in that direction, according to a Tuesday morning update from fire managers.

"There is a road closure of County Road 302, approximately 3-½ miles in, just above the Y at the last residence," according to a Garfield County Sheriff's Office press release. "The public is encouraged to stay clear of this area to allow fire fighting operations to proceed."

According to Jay Esperance, incident commander, “During the initial response to the Cache Creek Fire, the local team made public and firefighter safety their top priority. Our team will continue that objective as the rough terrain and limited access will make fighting this fire a challenge."

The fire started late Saturday evening after a series of thunder and lightning storms moved through western Garfield County. However, a cause has not yet been determined.

The Rocky Mountain Blue Team is a type 2 incident management team available year-round for all-risk assignment, according to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Blue Team website. The team replaced the local type 3 organization that was working on the fire Sunday and Monday, according to a Tuesday morning update from the White River National Forest.

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The fire continues to burn in steep, rugged terrain with a substantial amount of dead and downed timber within the fire perimeter, with zero containment, states the Rocky Mountain Blue Team press release.

Today, firefighters will scout the fire perimeter in order to identify safe access points and hazards in the fire area. Crews will also begin structure protection on Battlement Creek Reservoir Road. Structures have been evacuated along the road.

In addition to the two Type 1 large helicopters, a Type 2 medium helicopter will also be available to support ground resources in this effort, according to the press release.

The Rifle Ranger District of the White River National Forest has implemented an emergency area closure for the fire. The closure can be found on the Forest Service website at goo.gl/uLCtqA.

The hot, dry weather patten is expected to continue through the rest of the week. Forecasted weather for Tuesday is for high temperatures in the valley around 87-92 with temperatures on the fire lower at 69-74 degrees, according to the press release.

Relative humidity will be 8-14 percent with winds out of the northwest 8-14 mph, gusting to 25mph in the afternoon. The press release states there is a slight chance of isolated thunderstorms.

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