Fire activity picks up in Utah and Colorado

At least five large wildfires are growing in the two states

Above: Satellite photo at 5:37 p.m. MDT Sept. 13, 2018 showing smoke from wildfires in Utah and Colorado.

(Originally published at 7:16 p.m. MDT September 13, 2108)

The Red Flag Warning that brought strong winds and very low humidities Wednesday and Thursday contributed to the rapid growth of several wildfires in Utah and Colorado.

In Utah two fires about 18 miles south of Provo spread very rapidly Wednesday night and Thursday. The Pole Creek and Bald Mountain Fires, between Highways 54 and 89, are only about five miles apart. Two Type 1 Incident Management Teams are en route to these fires.  Todd Pechota’s team will manage the Bald Mountain Fire and Beth Lund’s team will take the Pole Creek Fire.

To see all articles on Wildfire Today about the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain Fires, including the most current, click HERE.

Map Pole Creek Bald Mountain Fires
Map of the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain Fires showing heat detected by a satellite as late as 2:36 p.m. MDT September 13, 2018.

At 2:36 p.m. MDT a satellite detected heat on the Pole fire indicating that it had spread over a relatively narrow path 14 miles long and had crossed Highway 89. This information from a satellite 200 miles overhead is preliminary and needs to be confirmed by someone closer to the ground.

The Bald Mountain Fire appeared to have spread about five miles. Both fires were pushed by strong southwest winds, causing them to grow to the northeast.

Our extremely rough very unofficial estimate of the size of the two fires in Utah, based on the 2:36 p.m. MDT satellite data on Friday — at that time the Bald Mountain Fire had burned approximately 2,000 acres and the Pole Creek Fire had grown to about 14,000 acres.

Two fires along Highway 318 in northwest Colorado 10 and 24 miles northwest of Maybell were quite active Thursday. They are named the Three Wash and Boone Gulch Fires.

The Silver Creek Fire 16 miles northwest of Kremmling, Colorado continued to spread toward Highway 40. Thursday afternoon it was about three miles west of the highway.

Silver Creek fire near Kremmling, Colo. awakens

The fire made a 4-mile run on Wednesday

Above: Airline pilot Chad Andrews photographed the Silver Creek Fire as it spread to the northeast September 12, 2018.

(Originally published at 10:15 a.m. MDT September 13, 2018)

The Silver Creek fire 19 air miles northwest of Kremmling, Colorado had been quiet for weeks, but strong winds and very low humidity on Wednesday brought it back to life in the Buffalo Park area. The 12 mph southwest wind gusting at 24 mph combined with 11 percent relative humidity caused the fire to spread four miles to the northeast, prompting fire officials to evacuate hunters in the area.

Our very unofficial analysis from satellite data indicates that approximately 1,100 acres burned Wednesday, which would bring the size up to 5,800 to 6,000 acres.

Silver Creek Fire
This is a screengrab from video footage shot Wednesday of the Silver Creek Fire by Colorado’s MultiMission Aircraft.

Additional firefighting resources are being ordered.

The fire is 19 air miles southeast of Steamboat Springs, west of Highway 40.

Map Silver Creek Fire
Map of the Silver Creek Fire. The red line was the perimeter on August 23. The red shaded area on the northeast side represents heat detected by a satellite at 3:13 a.m. MDT September 13, 2018.

Thursday’s weather forecast is not good news for firefighters. With a Red Flag Warning in effect it is a little more severe than conditions on Wednesday. Firefighters should expect southwest winds at 12 to 17 mph gusting up to 27 mph along with humidities as low as 9 percent. This could result in additional fire spread to the northeast if fuels are available.

Silver Creek fire
A photo posted on InciWeb September 3 showed a mosaic burn pattern on the Silver Creek Fire.