Grizzly Creek Fire 61 percent contained
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - A wildfire raging in the area of Glenwood Canyon is now more than halfway to full containment.
Crews battling the Grizzly Creek Fire ended a successful day of firefighting Tuesday at 61 percent containment, up from 37 percent that morning.
The fire is mapped at 32,060 acres, making it one of the top 20 largest wildfires in Colorado history.
The containment has been hard-won, following a massive onslaught by crews across the country.
“As of yesterday, the Grizzly Creek Fire was the number one fire priority in the entire nation. We are receiving and deploying resources from all over the country,” Gov. Jared Polis said in a briefing Aug. 18.
Due to the progress made on the fire, I-70 reopened Monday through Glenwood Canyon for the first time since the Grizzly Creek Fire began burning Aug. 10.
CDOT is calling the opening “limited” and has issued several restrictions for drivers:
- There will be lower speed limits in place.
- No stopping will be allowed through Glenwood Canyon.
- A head-to-head detour is in place between Hanging Lake Tunnel and near No Name Tunnel.
- Rest areas in the canyon are closed.
A flareup near mile marker 126 forced the interstate’s closure again Monday evening, but only for about an hour. The interstate reopened just after 8 p.m.
Officials said to date, there are 15 hand crews, seven helicopters (down from 17 last week), 41 engines, 12 water tenders, and 11 dozers assisting with the fire. Some firefighters from Colorado Springs are among the more than 800 firefighters assisting in the battle.
The fire started on the afternoon of Aug. 10 as a fire in the I-70 median. It was initially called the 120 Fire after the interstate exit.
“Upon arrival, the firefighters encountered large active flames in the I-70 median before the fire took a run up the north-facing slope,” officials wrote on the fire’s official information page.
The fire rapidly ballooned in size, crossing I-70 Aug. 11. Most of the fire remains north of I-70, but a sizable area has been burning south of the interstate:
The blaze took a run at the area where the famed Hanging Lake is located, prompting fears the iconic attraction had been lost. When smoke dissipated enough to allow a flyover on the afternoon of Aug. 14, officials announced the area still stood.
Authorities suspect a popped tire, sparks from a rim, or dragging chains are the likely cause of the fire.
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