Updated at 10:12 a.m. MDT October 18, 2019
The Cow Creek Fire climbed further up the steep slopes east of Ridgway, Colorado on Thursday, growing to 655 acres according to an overnight mapping flight. (see map) Burning embers started three spot fires near the western base of Courthouse Mountain about 0.75 miles away from the main fire. The incident management team said the spot fires are within the identified area of containment and currently pose no threat to private property or structures.
The spot fires are at 10,700 feet in an area that has Aspen groves in their autumn colors. The main ridge to the east ranges from 11,000 to 12,000 feet.
Fire officials ordered a Type 2 Incident Management Team Thursday night.
Below is an update from the Forest Service at 8:45 a.m. October 18:
Access to the Cow Creek Fire remains a safety concern for assigned fire crews. Rugged terrain combined with dry fuels have caused crews to adopt an indirect confine and contain suppression strategy. Firefighters spent Thursday identifying and constructing contingency lines in areas where predictive models have shown a potential for fire spread. These lines, using existing natural and manmade features, will help contain the fire in the event of rapid spread. On Friday, crews are expected to continue confine and containment operations.
Fire Weather: On Friday, forecasts show scattered showers throughout the morning into the afternoon with temperatures in the low to high 40s and minimum humidity ranging from 42-47%. There will be moderate southwestern winds, with strong gusts, that will shift to steady, western winds during the late morning and eventually northwest in the afternoon. Smoke from the fire could be present in Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Ouray, Gunnison, Saguache, San Miguel, Hinsdale, Garfield and Eagle counties.
Resources assigned to the fire include 2 hand crews, 2 engines, and 3 helicopters for a total of 64 personnel.