Ptarmigan Fire prompts evacuations near Silverthorne, Colorado

Off Interstate 70 about 50 miles west of Denver

  12:03 p.m. MDT Sept. 28, 2021

At an 11 a.m. briefing on Tuesday fire officials said the Ptarmigan Fire near Silverthorne, Colorado has prompted the evacuation or pre-evacuation notices of 617 homes.

More accurate mapping Monday evening found that at 10 p.m. the fire had burned about 17 acres, a decrease from the earlier estimate of 30 to 40 acres. The District Ranger said it may have grown to about 40 acres overnight.

Firefighters expect to use tactical firing operations to help protect structures on the west side of the fire. Two hand crews are en route.

The weather forecast predicts significant rain beginning after noon on Tuesday, continuing off and on through Saturday, accumulating about 0.70 inch. The elevation is over 9,000 feet so by Wednesday night it could turn to snow as temperatures drop into the low 30s.

7:45 a.m. MDT Sept. 28, 2021

Ptarmigan Fire map
Ptarmigan Fire map. The icons represent heat detected by satellites as late as 2:55 a.m. MDT Sept. 28, 2021.

The Ptarmigan Fire discovered at about 4:45 p.m. Monday has prompted the evacuation of 200 residents near Silverthorne, Colorado about 50 miles west of Denver. The blaze estimated at 30 to 40 acres is burning on the lodgepole and aspen-covered slopes below Ptarmigan Peak off I-70 north of Dillon Reservoir.

Monday night the Summit County Sheriff ordered mandatory evacuations for the Hamilton Creek area above Silverthorne. Pre-evacuations are in place for Angler Mountain and South 40.

Ptarmigan Fire Sept. 27, 2021
Ptarmigan Fire Sept. 27, 2021. Photo provided by USFS.

The latest information on evacuations is available by signing up for Summit County Emergency Alerts and at the Summit County Sheriffs Office Facebook page. A Red Cross Emergency Shelter is in place at the Summit Middle School.

The fire was attacked by two single engine air tankers, a large BAe-146 air tanker, and a Chinook helicopter which can carry up to 3,000 gallons. The aircraft focused their efforts on keeping it from moving downhill toward structures.

Monday night the White River National Forest said firefighters had not yet been able to safely engage the fire on the ground, but they are staged in strategic places should they have the opportunity. More resources are en route.

Ptarmigan Fire
Ptarmigan Fire Monday night. Photo provided by USFS.

Check out the fuels in these photos by Sean Gorman.