Wildland fire contained near Castle Creek Road | AspenTimes.com

Wildland fire contained near Castle Creek Road

Road reopened at milepost 6

Fire crews work at the site of a wildland fire up Castle Creek Road on Sunday, May 8, 2022.
Kaya Williams/The Aspen Times

Castle Creek Road near Aspen reopened in both directions Sunday evening after it closed due to a wildfire near milepost 6 earlier in the afternoon.

The fire was near the side of the road on the uphill slope between Castle Creek Road and Little Annie Road. The page for fire response went out just before 3 p.m., according to Jake Andersen, the deputy chief of operations for Aspen Fire Department.

The fire was “contained” as of about 4:15 p.m. Sunday, Andersen said in a phone call, and it was “controlled” before 7:25 p.m., he wrote in a text message.

Containment means crews had established a preliminary line around the fire, but it had not yet been completely extinguished; a fire is “controlled” when it is officially out, he said in a phone call Sunday afternoon. The fire covered about 1.5 acres, he said in another phone call later that evening.

By about 5 p.m. Sunday, crews appeared to have mostly doused the fire and were still working onsite with fire apparatus. By that point, the main signs that a fire had broken out were burnt patches of ground, some charred tree trunks and the smell of smoke.

A firefighter douses the base of a tree near the side of Castle Creek Road, where a wildland fire broke out on Sunday, May 8, 2022.
Kaya Williams/The Aspen Times

The fire was “fast moving and in the wind, and we’re lucky to get so many people on it so quick,” Andersen said.

“Officially, the cause is under investigation,” Andersen said.

Castle Creek Road is on the backside of Aspen Mountain, and the road goes about 11 miles from the roundabout to get to the Ashcroft area.

More than 15 personnel responded to the fire, including 11 personnel from the Aspen Fire Department, two from the Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority and two from Aspen Ambulance and folks from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, Andersen said. Six apparatus from those crews responded as well. Roaring Fork Fire also helped Aspen Fire with coverage down in town, he said.

The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit also dispatched personnel and an engine to the scene.

“Obviously a big thanks to all of our partners for helping all of us out,” Andersen said.

Andersen noted that there was a tree that fell on a powerline in the area, and power was out to a portion of the Castle Creek area, he said. Holy Cross Energy went to the scene, he said.

The Holy Cross Energy outage map indicated that an outage reported around 4:30 p.m. in the Castle Creek area impacted 57 customers. The cause of the outage was “tree failure” without ice or snow, due to “wind, etc.” according to the map. By 6 p.m. the map was updated and no longer showed an outage in the area.

Another fire broke out up the Fryingpan Valley on Sunday evening near Ruedi Creek, according to Roaring Fork Fire Rescue Authority Chief Scott Thompson.

Roaring Fork Fire Rescue got the call just before 5 p.m., and the fire was contained by “probably about 5:30 (p.m.),” Thompson said. It covered about a quarter acre of land, and “there was no threat to the subdivision,” he said. It was controlled and all crews had cleared by just after 7:40 p.m., he wrote in a text message.

Homeowners at Ruedi Creek extended garden hoses to the fire to help suppress the flames until Roaring Fork Fire Rescue crews arrived, Thompson said.

“They kind of held the fire at bay,” Thompson said.

About a half dozen apparatus and 15 or so personnel responded to the fire, he said.

The Holy Cross Energy outage map showed an outage reported at 4:34 p.m. on Frying Pan Road impacting 294 customers. Holy Cross crews were responding to the outage. As of 6:45 p.m., the map stated that the cause of the outage was “unknown.”

The Aspen area is part of a high wind advisory issued Sunday morning by the National Weather Service, and it is in effect until 9 a.m. Monday.

“Southwest winds 35 to 50 mph with gusts up to 70 mph expected,” according to the wind advisory for portions of northwest, southwest and west central Colorado. High winds and warmer temperatures are in the forecast through Wednesday for the Aspen and Snowmass areas.

“Wind gusts of 30 to 50 mph will be common across most of the area Monday. Gusty winds are forecasted to continue Tuesday and beyond,” according to the National Weather Service outlook. “Critical fire weather conditions are expected Monday and will likely remain in place through at least Thursday.”