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From the fire line: Colorado Springs firefighters help fight Grizzly Creek Fire

Four big wildfires are spreading out of control in Colorado. A crew from the Colorado Springs Fire Department is working to save structures on the southeast side of the Grizzly Creek Fire near Glenwood Springs.
The Grizzly Creek Fire burns near Glenwood Springs.
The Grizzly Creek Fire burns near Glenwood Springs.(CSFD)
Published: Aug. 17, 2020 at 10:48 PM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - Another hard day on the fire lines in Colorado. Four big wildfires are burning up thousands of acres in the state, creating a thick blanket of smoke across the front range.

A crew from the Colorado Springs Fire Department is currently assigned to helping operations on the Grizzly Creek Fire near Glenwood Springs. It’s grown to more than 25,000 acres as of Monday night.

“Twenty-six years of wildland fire fighting. This has been some of the most extreme fire conditions I’ve experienced,” said Steven Oswald, fire captain with CSFD.

The firefighters from CSFD are working 14-hour shifts through the night to stop the flames from spreading. They are currently working to save structures on the southeast side of the fire in the Bair Ranch area.

“Most of what the engines have been doing is supporting the hand crews,” Oswald said. “We’ve been plumbing a lot of homes for structure protection, a lot of trunk lines put out with fire hoses, sprinkler systems to help protect these homes.”

The terrain is tough. Oswald says there’s no way to put any kind of engine in the canyon. Air support has been crucial to attack the fire and try to hold it in position.

Firefighters are also dealing with extreme conditions. Temperatures are high and the humidity is low. It’s a recipe for the fire to spread quickly.

“The fire behavior at night has been amazing. Most of the time we see fire start to die down. We get into the recovery maybe towards nine, 10 o’clock at night. We’re seeing fire burn actively clear till 2, 3 in the morning,” said Oswald.

The CSFD crew is just one cog in a big machine. Resources around the country have come to Colorado to help out. The Grizzly Creek Fire remains the top priority in the nation.

I-70 remains closed between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum, with no estimate of reopening.

Operations are focused on stopping the fire from running west towards Glenwood Springs. The fire nearly doubled in size over the weekend. There’s still no containment.

Firefighters from CSFD are assigned to help with operations for 14 days.

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