Update on Lower North Fork fire in Colorado, March 29

UPDATE at 7:56 p.m. MT, March 29

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office has posted the much-requested “current verified list of structures damaged by the Lower North Fork fire”, as well as a map. All local home owners with confirmed damaged properties have been escorted to their property by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. There are two homeowners who have not made it back to their property because they are coming from out of the area.

There was no perimeter growth today. The size remains at 4,140 acres and they are calling it 45% contained.


Original post, at 8:25 a.m. MT, March 29

As of Thursday morning, the Lower North Fork fire southeast of Conifer, Colorado is 15% contained and has burned 4,140 acres. The number of homes damaged or destroyed remains at 27. The owners of 26 of the structures have been notified. Rich Harvey’s Type 1 Incident Management Team assumed command of the fire at 6:00 a.m. today. The local Type 3 IMTeam will continue to work with the Type 1 team.

The map of the Lower North Fork fire below shows the perimeter (in red) as of 9:39 Wednesday night.

Map Lower North Fork Fire 2139 3-28-2012
Map of Lower North Fork Fire. The blue line is the evacuation zone. The red line is the fire perimeter at 9:39 p.m. 3-28-2012. Map provided by Jefferson County Sheriff's Office

On Wednesday there were two large air tankers assigned, P2Vs, Tankers #44 and #45, but they were removed from the fire late in the afternoon and redeployed to the Apple fire south of Custer, South Dakota. (We were at the Apple fire yesterday.) There will be four National Guard Blackhawk helicopters assigned to the Lower North Fork fire today. Four helicopters dropped 49,000 gallons of water yesterday.

Residents seeking information about the status of their property within the fire evacuation zone may come to the Conifer High School, but the school is closed to the general public.

With the apparent cause of the fire being an escaped prescribed fire that was managed by the Colorado Forest Service, on Wednesday Deputy State Forester Joe Duda issued a statement that reads in part:

We want to express our deepest sympathy to those who have lost loved ones and those who have lost property, and we hope for the safety of crews as they continue to fight the fire.

On Wednesday the governor of Colorado suspended the use of prescribed burns by state agencies.

It is very early in the year, and early in the wildfire season, but already firefighters are competing for aerial and hand crew resources. There are not enough to go around, and they are not deployed where the fires are occurring. This is due in part to the diminishing budgets of the firefighting agencies, translated as fewer firefighters, and mismanagement of the federal air tanker fleet.

Other articles on Wildfire Today about the Lower North Fork fire:

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

2 thoughts on “Update on Lower North Fork fire in Colorado, March 29”

  1. Bill, thank you for the updates. My husband’s family lives in the Conifer area, one mountain away from the fire. It’s good to have information available.


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