Residents of the 463 homes in the Peak 7 neighborhood near the Peak 2 Fire north of Breckenridge, Colorado were able to return to their homes Friday night for the first time since the fire started July 5. The fire has burned 74 to 84 acres, about the size of an 18-hole golf course, but no one would ever build a golf course on terrain this steep (see map above).
Todd Pechota’s Type 1 Incident Management Team assumed command at 6 a.m. Friday.
The resources assigned to the fire include 8 hand crews, 15 engines, and 8 helicopters for a total of 362 personnel.
The fire was reported at about 11 a.m. Wednesday near the ski resort 50 air miles west of Denver. Aircraft worked the fire that afternoon, along with eight Boise smokejumpers and a hotshot crew. Additional resources have been ordered.
At a media briefing Wednesday it was announced that a Type 1 Incident Management Team would arrive at the fire on Thursday.
The weather forecast for the fire area at 10,000 feet calls for 78 degrees, 26 percent relative humidity, and northwest winds of 8 mph gusting to 13.
The video below was shot Wednesday before the fire activity slowed late in the afternoon.
And below, another photo shot during the height of activity on the Peak 2 Fire near Breckenridge at 3 p.m.
In the map above of the Peak 2 Fire, the red dots represent heat detected by a satellite at 3:54 p.m. MDT July 5, 2017.
(Originally published at 6:41 p.m. MDT July 5, 2017)
(Updated at 7:25 p.m. MDT July 5, 2017)
The Peak 2 Fire spread rapidly after it was reported just after 11 a.m. Wednesday morning between Breckenridge and Frisco near popular ski areas 50 air miles west of Denver. It is 2 miles north of the northernmost ski runs at Breckenridge.
At 5 p.m. fire officials estimated the size at 80 acres. According to Summit County the community of Peak 7, approximately 463 residences, is under evacuation. Residents of Breckenridge, Gold Hill and Silver Shekel have been asked to prepare for evacuation.
No structures have been destroyed and Highway 9 is open.
Aircraft have been working the fire, as well as eight Boise smokejumpers and a hotshot crew. Additional resources have been ordered.
The fire is being managed under the Unified Command of the US Forest Service, the Summit County Sheriff, and the Red, White and Blue Fire Protection District. Bill Jackson the local US Forest Service District Ranger on the White River National Forest said in a 7 p.m. briefing that a Type 1 Incident Management Team will assume command at noon on Thursday.
There are reports that late in the afternoon the fire activity decreased, but below are photos from earlier in the day as the fire was spreading more rapidly.
Above: Air Tanker 02, a BAe-146, makes a drop on the Mill Creek Fire. Screen shot from the Joel Reichenberger video below.
(Originally published t 9:34 a.m. MDT July 2, 2017)
The Mill Creek Fire in Colorado started Saturday when a tree fell on a bulldozer that was working in the area, according to a spokesperson from the West Routt Fire Protection District. The dozer was destroyed as the blaze spread northwest of Pilot Knob near Routt County Road 80.
The fire is 13 miles northeast of Hayden and 20 miles northwest of Steamboat Springs.
As of Saturday night 116 acres had burned. Steamboat Today reported that two hotshot crews will be assigned on Sunday.
A new documentary published online last week chronicles the terror and heartbreak ranchers faced in areas of Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas when wind-swept fires tore through their communities in March.
Titled “Fire in the Heartland,” the 16-minute film includes interviews with fire personnel and ranchers about the firestorm that ripped through the prairie lands. The video is the latest enterprise work to come out of the disaster — this New York Times piece also detailed some of the tragedy.
The wildfires tore through cattle country, feasting on grasses made dry by long-term drought and exacerbated by recent warm weather. Once the fires were started, strong winds whipped the flames, helping them spread more rapidly. According to Reuters, a wildfire in Texas during the beginning of March moved at speeds up to 70mph as it raced across the Texas Panhandle. By the third week of March, the fires had killed at least seven people—not to mention thousands of livestock—and burned more than 2 million acres.