Spring Creek Fire becomes third largest in state history

It has burned approximately 94,093 acres, displacing the High Park Fire for the number three position.

Above: A DC-10 drops retardant on the Spring Creek Fire. Undated photo by Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.

(UPDATED February 21, 2019)

The Spring Creek Fire ultimately burned 108,045 acres and 141 homes, becoming the third largest in the recorded history of Colorado. A Danish man living in the United States on an expired visa was charged with 141 counts of first-degree arson for allegedly starting the fire — one charge for each of the homes destroyed.

(UPDATED at 12:37 p.m. MDT July 5, 2018)

The Spring Creek Fire was very active Wednesday and Wednesday night spreading in a direction we have not seen very often since the fire started June 27. It spread rapidly on the northwest side running two to four miles west of Pass Creek Road working its way up Iron Mountain. It is unknown how far it may have continued after reaching the top. Clouds made it difficult to get good infrared data in that area.

The fire has burned approximately 103,000 acres as of early Thursday morning.

map spring creek fire
3-D map of the northwest section of the Spring Creek Fire, looking north, showing data from 12:46 a.m. MDT July 5, 2018.

Here is the outlook provided by the Incident Management Team:

Atmospheric moisture will continue to increase through the end of the week. However, given the current fuel conditions, the fire will continue to follow heavy continuous fuels to the north towards Gardner, the northeast towards Badito, to the east towards Three Bridges, to the south towards Cuchara and Indian Creek regardless of general wind direction. Potential for scattered thunderstorm activity which can cause gusty outflow winds in any direction.

(Originally published at 8:11 a.m. MDT July 4, 2018)

The Spring Creek Fire in southern Colorado between La Veta and Fort Garland added another 15,000 acres Tuesday to become the third largest in the recorded history of the state after Tuesday night’s mapping estimated that it has burned approximately 94,093 acres. A partial cloud cover made 100% precision impossible.

The five largest:

  1. Hayman Fire in 2002, 137,760 acres, NW of Colorado Springs
  2. West Fork in 2013, 110,405 acres, Wolf Creek Pass
  3. Spring Creek in 2018, 94,093 acres (preliminary mapping, still spreading) La Veta
  4. High Park Fire in 2012, 87,284 acres, west of Ft. Collins
  5. Missionary Ridge Fire in 2002, 71,739 acres, Durango

CLICK HERE to see all of the articles on Wildfire Today about the Spring Creek Fire.

map spring creek fire
3-D map of the northwest section of the Spring Creek Fire, looking north, showing data from 12:46 a.m. MDT July 5, 2018.

Most of the growth on the Spring Creek Fire was on the north side, north of Silver Mountain, where Tuesday night it was four miles from Highway 69 and seven miles from Gardner.  The Incident Management Team estimates the fire could reach Highway 69 in one to two days.

map Spring Creek Fire Colorado
Map showing the approximate perimeter of the Spring Creek Fire at 9:37 p.m. MDT July 3, 2018. The yellow line was the perimeter about 24 hours before. Click to enlarge.

The fire grew by smaller amounts on the southeast side south of La Veta, where is has come close in several places to Highway 12. It is likely that firefighters have been very busy there constructing dozer and hand firelines, and firing out from roads. They are concerned about burning embers being lofted across the highway and starting spot fires.

Most of the fire is on private land, but significant portions are on land administered by the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the state of Colorado.

Typos, let us know HERE, and specify which article. Please read the commenting rules before you post a comment.

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.

3 thoughts on “Spring Creek Fire becomes third largest in state history”

  1. BILL:


Comments are closed.