Beaver Creek Fire Now Nearly 25,000 Acres in Size [VIDEO]
Wind gusts and warm weather helped the Beaver Creek Fire grow by over 2,500 acres over the weekend as firefighters continue burnout operations designed to protect structures and impede the fire's advance.
The Monday morning InciWeb update showed the fire at 24,798 acres in size including 445 acres of Wyoming's Carbon County and Medicine Bow National Forest. The fire remains active with single and group torching, short crown runs and short-range spotting.
Fire managers reported growth of 591 acres Saturday and 1,913 acres Sunday.
The fire, burning about 24 miles north of Walden, Colo., remains 5 percent contained. A total of 287 firefighters are assigned to the Beaver Creek Fire, including four crews, 24 engines, one bulldozer and two helicopters.
Most of Saturday's activity was along the southern edge of the fire in alignment with strong winds. The fire moved into the area of the Republic River, threatening a Hill Ranch building that firefighters were prepared to protect.
The blaze also backed downhill on the east side of the 35 Road toward the Trophy Mountain Ranch, where firefighters remained ready to engage the flames where they had opportunities to do so effectively.
Cloud cover decreased Sunday, leading to more activity along the southern edge which sent up a large column of smoke. Crews continued their defensive work inside of Trophy Mountain Ranch.
Most of Sunday's fire growth was on the southwestern corner of the fire in the Hill Ranch area east of the 609 road. Firefighters protected structures using fire-resistant cabin wrap, sprinkler systems and burnout operations. Their efforts were bolstered by helicopters which used aerial firing tactics to to protect buildings at risk on the eastern and southern edges of the fire.
Fire managers report Monday morning's weather will be similar to Sunday's conditions, with a change in the form of scattered showers and thunderstorms expected in the afternoon.
Crews continue to work in areas where they can safely take steps to mitigate the fire. Aerial ignition is planned with a goal of connecting the fire line to the 660 road.
"This changing weather pattern is not going to bring in an event ending wetting rain," said Incident Meteorologist Tim Mathewson. "These rains are expected to bring in a potential half inch of rain over the next six days. Unfortunately, potential lightening also brings the potential for new fire starts in the area."