Beaver Creek Fire Now Over 11,700 Acres in Size
Over 500 firefighters are now assigned to the Beaver Creek Fire, which advanced on three sides Tuesday and has burned 11,776 acres since it began Sunday, June 18.
The fire remains 5 percent contained as firefighters focus on protecting some 60 threatened buildings and establishing fire lines where they have the greatest chance of stopping the advancing flames.
Firefighters, now numbering 514 in total, will not directly engage the fire in the Mount Zirkel Wilderness area, opting instead to patrol and assist Forest Service staff in keeping recreationists apprised of the area closure.
Outside the Mount Zirkel Wilderness, crews continue to actively fight flames advancing toward buildings. Should the blaze pass outside the wilderness area in a new location, the fire management team plans to suppress the fire in a way that minimizes risk to firefighters and gives crews the highest chance of success.
Wind pushed into the western edge of the fire Tuesday, slowing growth and helping clean out unburned fuel in the area. The southern and eastern sides also grew Tuesday, with the southern edge remaining active. Firefighters plan to remove unburned fuels through aerial suppression tactics on Wednesday, taking advantage of favorable weather and fuel conditions.
Firefighters will use helicopters to ignite small fires in a grid pattern in unburned areas of the fire interior, as well as on the edges of the baze. This strategy removes fuel and maintains moderate fire intensity. Helicopters also aid ground crews by dropping water as the ground crews use fire to clear out fuels near threatened buildings.
Parsons Draw is set for increased structure preparation activity throughout Wednesday. Crews continue to use bulldozers to build and augment contingency fire lines.
Deputy Incident Commander Rob Powell reminded firefighters, "While you have been very successful on the fire and the fire behavior is moderating, keep your situational awareness up as the fire is still active. Your safety is a priority."
Wednesday's forecast in the area called for partly cloudy skies with a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms after 2 p.m. Temperatures between 76 and 81 degrees along with humidity ranging from 17-23 percent will help temper fire activity. Winds are predicted to shift from northwest to southwest in the afternoon.
The fire is located about two miles south of the Wyoming/Colorado border and roughly 15 miles northwest of Walden, Colo.
Evacuation orders and area closures remain in place. Concerned property owners can contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Office at 970-723-4242 for damage or loss information.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. Anyone with information or tips regarding suspicious activity in the Twisty Park area on Sunday, June 18, can call U.S. Forest Service Officer Hannah Nadeau at 307-343-2335.