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Grizzly Creek Fire UPDATES

Wednesday, September 9 3 P.M. Moisture has helped further moderate the fire. Personnel are mostly away from fire lines until conditions on the ground dry to allow better access. Suppression and suppression repair activities will resume as conditions dry. Managers anticipate those conditions to happen over the weekend.

The Grizzly Creek Fire remains 91% contained and has not grown in 11 days. Fire resources will continue to be released to travel home or to new fires throughout the west.

There are no updates on roads reopening at this point and a temporary flight restriction over the fire remains. 

Tuesday, September 8 11 A.M. As of this morning, there are 383 firefighting personnel working on the 32,464-acre fire. Containment increased to 91% and there was no fire growth for the 9th straight day.

The Upper Colorado River Fire Type 3 Organization will assume command of the fire on Wednesday, Sept. 9, after shadowing the Alaska Incident Management Team. The teams are working closely with management agencies to ensure a smooth transition. 
Suppression repair continues around the fire, with excavators, dozers and hand crews working to return the fireline to a more natural state. Rain and snow in the forecast are expected to slow progress.  
6:30 P.M. Fire officials report the influx of smoke in the area is not a result of increased fire activity. A change in wind direction associated with the incoming cold front is bringing smoke from fires in states to the west of Colorado, including Utah and California. Rain and snow expected tonight will likely decrease smoke concentrations tomorrow morning. 

Monday, September 7 9:30 A.M. A Red Flag Warning for high winds and extreme fire conditions has been issued for Pitkin and Eagle County between 12-9 p.m. Eagle County has issued a complete fire ban in accordance with the Red Flag Warning. 
As of this morning, there are 402 firefighting personnel working on the 32,464-acre fire. There was no acreage growth for the 8th day in a row. Containment remains at 83%. 

Widespread haze and patchy smoke throughout the valley today. Air quality monitors remain at acceptable levels, with a moderate health concern for people who are sensitive to air pollution.

Sunday, September 6 8:45 A.M. Fire officials today said that for the seventh straight day, the Grizzly Creek Fire did not grow in acreage. It remains at roughly 32,000 acres and 83% contained. They added that smoke visible from the highway is from pockets of green fuel burning up within the fire's perimeter as hot, dry and windy weather has increased fire activity throughout the weekend, but they are not concerned about the fire threatening containment lines.

Helicopters have continued to drop water on these areas to cool them off. Officials stressed there is no need to call 911 about these pockets of smoke, and that periods of smoke will remain until a significant rain or snow event occurs.

Saturday, September 5 12 P.M. The Grizzly Creek Fire is 83% contained, and estimated at 32,464 acres. 472 personnel are currently managing the fire. The Type 1 Incident Management Team from Alaska that took over the firefighting response on Aug. 25 is set to depart on Tuesday, Sept. 8, and a smaller Type 3 management team will take over management of the fire.

Fire officials said that while the fire hasn't grown in size despite hot, dry and windy conditions, two sections on the northern and southern boundaries of the fire will remain uncontained for the foreseeable future because of rugged terrain that makes access to that area incredibly difficult for firefighting personnel and equipment. Officials also stressed that while they aren't overly concerned about flare-ups within the fire's perimeter, they are concerned about other fires sparking in the area over Labor Day Weekend. People recreating in the area are reminded that Stage 2 fire restrictions and red flag warning are in effect, which prohibit open burning.

Friday, September 4, 11:00 A.M. Firefighters continue to hold containment lines and build new ones amid warm and dry conditions. Both acreage and containment stayed the same, as the fire is still 32,464 acres and 83% contained. 

Fire officials say with activity at a minimum, they are focusing on "suppression repair" — fixing previously-built dozer lines. So far they have done 31 miles of such repair and plan to do at least seven more.

Thursday, September 3, 9:00 P.M. For the fourth straight day, there was no increase in acreage of the Grizzly Creek Fire. It is now 83% contained. Crews have now secured approximately 64.5 of the 78.5-mile fire perimeter. With that level of containment, the White River National Forest and Bureau of Land Management have reduced the size of the closures associated with the fire. The Coffee Pot Road and Transfer Trail Road remain closed. A full list of closures can be found here

4 P.M. As of noon today, the Eagle County Sheriff's Office has lifted pre-evacuation orders for the areas of Coulter Creek and Buck Point Drive, north of Missouri Heights. There are no other pre-evacuation orders in place for Eagle County. Coffee Pot Road remains closed to the public and all non-residential access.

12:30 P.M. Fire officials report that smoke has been visible this morning for the Grizzly Creek Fire. It may continue to be visible due to pockets of fuel in the interior of the control line that continue to burn out, according to Field Operations Chief, Jon Glover. These fuels pose minimal threats to control lines and smoke may be seen over the next 4-5 days as vegetation continues to dry out.

Wednesday, September 2 9:30 A.M. As of this morning, over 500 firefighting personnel are still working to contain the fire. Officials say there has been no acreage growth or fire movement for three days now. The fire has burned over 32,400 acres and is 75% contained. Lightning, high winds and dry conditions remain a concern in fighting the blaze. 

11:15 A.M. The Forest Service announced the fire was human caused at a Facebook Live community meeting held in Eagle on Monday. The investigation into the specific cause will continue.  

I-70 remains open. Expect periodic delays for firefighting operations and possible flash floods in the event of heavy rain. For more information on interstate closures go to COTrip

Tuesday, September 1 10 A.M. Strong afternoon wind gusts swept over the Grizzly Creek Fire yesterday for the second day in a row and once again control lines held. Despite wind gusts at more than 40 mph over parts of the fire, the acreage remained at 32,464 while containment bumped up to about 75%. Sixty of the approximately 80 miles of fire perimeter are now contained. 
Steady rainfall last night over most of the fire area. Fire officials reported the rain wasn’t heavy enough to prompt any concerns about runoff or flash floods. 
Suppression repair continues to ramp up and fire managers are hoping to add more heavy equipment to the lineup. There are currently six dozers, six excavators and two chippers working to rehab lines in the areas of Coffee Pot Road, Bair Ranch, Red Canyon and No Name.   

Monday, August 31 11:45 P.M. Firefighters held the Grizzly Creek Fire at about 32,000 acres and 73% contained over the weekend, but weather remains a concern in fighting the blaze. High winds yesterday created dangerous conditions, and firefighters were pulled off containment lines during the afternoon due to concerns about tree fall and lightning. Meteorologists are forecasting wind gusts up to 40 mph for today, along with a drop in relative humidity, which officials say is "near critical fire weather conditions" and could cause flare-ups in fire activity.

4:45 P.M. US National Weather Service Grand Junction Colorado released a severe thunderstorm warning through multiple counties, including Garfield County. 

Sunday, August 30 10:00 A.M. As of this morning, the fire is 32,464-acres and 73% contained.  Much of the fire received widespread precipitation Saturday. According to fire officials, the steep terrain, combined with a persistant rain, created treacherous working conditions on slopes and drainages. Crews were pulled off the line to wait for the rain to pass. Firefighters exercised extreme caution on the slippery roads.  
Cold fronts are forecast through Sunday and Monday, bringing isolated showers and strong winds. Despite the chance for local precipitation, fuels are expected to dry by Monday, which could be a critical fire day with low relative humidities and winds gusting to 37 mph. 
Crews are now working some of the roughest and most inaccessible portions of the fire. Helicopters were required to deliver two additional crews to an uncontained section of the fire perimeter, where they are working on a fireline to connect the Grizzly Creek rim to the No Name Creek rim. These two drainages comprise some of the most dangerous terrain on this fire and continue to present a challenge to firefighters. An additional crew will be added today to support this mission.   
I-70 remains open to two-way traffic. Motorists should expect delays for utility work and firefighting operations, or in the event of mudslides or debris flow due to rain. 


Saturday, August 29 11:00 A.M. The US National Weather Service is forecasting heavy rainfall over the Grizzly Creek Burn Area, which may lead to flash flooding and debris flows and could cause significant problems along I-70. Rest areas through Glenwood Canyon are closed as part of a coordinated plan to quickly clear traffic and close the interstate if needed. 


As of this morning, there were 644 personnel still working to contain the 32,448-acre Grizzly Creek Fire. Fire crews continue to strengthen control lines in the broken and rugged terrain of the No Name and Grizzly Creek drainages. Additional crews are arriving today to improve the contingency lines in the northwest corner of the fire.  

Containment reached 71% on Friday, August 28, as firefighters worked 10 to 25 feet in from the edge of the fire, widening control lines and cold trailing the fire’s edge. Cold trailing is a method of working the fire’s edge by carefully inspecting and feeling for heat with the hand.  
A cold front is expected to blow in from the northeast this morning, bringing gusty winds and continued heavy rainfall. Strong winds are predicted to persist into next week. 
Expect good air quality today with no smoke. There is a chance of heavy smoke accumulations in the Colorado river canyon between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum getting into the moderate to unhealthy for sensitive groups ranges in the evening hours.

Friday, August 28 11:30 P.M. The Grizzly Creek Fire is now 32,408 acres and 68% contained after crews improved control lines with hand tools, dozers and excavators. Today's firefighting efforts are focused on the No Name and Grizzly Creek drainages, as well as Green Lake to the south.


Fire activity has stayed moderate with cooler temperatures and lower relative humidity. Precipitation this weekend could assist firefighting efforts, but also poses a risk of creating mudslides in burned areas. I-70 remains open in both directions, but fire officials say drivers should expect periodic closures for firefighting operations and powerline repairs. 


Thursday, August 27 1 P.M. Grizzly Creek Fire officials are mapping the fire at 32,302 acres and 61% contained as of this afternoon. Officials said that lower temperatures have been helpful in firefighting efforts, and that air quality has improved in the last few days. Forecasted precipitation continues to be a concern for flash flooding in the burn area, although last night's forecasted heavy rain did not materialize as much as expected, nor did it impact highway travel through Glenwood Canyon.

2:40 P.M. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued a flash flood watch for the Grizzly Fire Creek burn area until 6 p.m. National Weather Service Meteorologists are forecasting heavy rainfall over the Grizzly Creek burn area, which could lead to flash flooding and debris flows.


Heavy rainfall of almost a half inch over the Grizzly Creek burn area is expected up to and during the period of the watch. Fire officials advise residents near the Grizzly Creek burn area to prepare for potential flooding impacts. 


Floods could occur near roads and highways and potentially cause temporary closures.


Wednesday, August 26 11:20 A.M. The Alaska Type 1 Incident Management Team took command of the Grizzly Creek Fire at 6 a.m. today. Acreage and containment have not been updated since last night's release, remaining at 32,060 acres and 61% containment. I-70 remains open in both directions but drivers could see periodic closures due to nearby firefighting activity. 


10 P.M. Fire officials today said the Grizzly Creek Fire is now 32,060 acres and 61% contained. Firefighters made progress on containment lines on both the north and south ends of the fire today. Incident Command said that a spot fire had briefly closed the interstate overnight, but they were able to quickly put out the fire and reopen the highway. They added that closures due to debris, rockslides and fire activity will continue to intermittently impact travel through Glenwood Canyon on I-70.


Eagle County Sheriff James Van Beek and US Forest Service officials stressed that "tinder dry" conditions will continue to create extreme fire hazards for the state, and the public should be aware of local and state fire restrictions even after the Grizzly Creek Fire is contained.

Today also marks the last day that the Great Basin Type 1 Management Team will work on the Grizzly Creek Fire. That team took over management of the fire within days of it sparking in Glenwood Canyon on August 10. The change in command is standard, as fire management teams switch out after 14 days. A new Type 1 management team from Alaska is taking over the Grizzly Creek Fire response.


Tuesday, August 25 11:45 A.M. The Grizzly Creek Fire is now mapped at 32,060 acres and 44% contained. Incident Command said that controlled burn operations went well in the Spruce Ridge area of the fire yesterday. They expect active fire conditions today due to high temperatures and low humidity. Smoke will continue to affect the region from the Grizzly Creek Fire, and the Pine Gulch Fire, which is still burning north of Grand Junction.


2:30 P.M. The Eagle County Sheriff's Office announced Monday that evacuation orders for residents in High Aspen, Spring Valley Ranch, Homestead Ranch, Colter Meadows and the Lookout Mountain area south of the fire have been changed to "pre-evacuation" status. Officials are asking residents to use caution when returning to their homes and limit additional travel as much as possible. 


12:40 P.M. Increased fire behavior is expected again throughout the day. Burnout operations are planned today in the Bair Ranch area and to the south. The Burn Area Emergency Response team will continue their assessment of the fire’s impact on natural resources and their mop-up operations. 


People can expect similar hazy smoke conditions as Sunday. In general, smoke will be in the moderate ranges for all communities West of Vail including the Roaring Fork Valley and Eagle for most of the day.


Monday, August 24 9:10 A.M. I-70 is back open between mile marker 116 near Glenwood Springs and 140 near Gypsum in both directions. The road closed for two weeks after a wildfire sparked in Glenwood Canyon. Colorado Department of Transportation officials have said they will keep an eye on the roadway to make sure it continues to stay safe for drivers. CDOT has asked that drivers prepare for reduced speeds and no stopping in the canyon. They're monitoring for rock and other debris, as well as how the Grizzly Creek Fire behaves over the next several days. The fire has grown to nearly 31,000 acres and is currently 33% contained.

The Garfield County Sheriff has lifted the evacuation order for No Name residents. 


5:45 P.M. Eagle County has lifted several pre-evacuation orders. The Eagle County Sheriff's office today said that pre-evacution orders for Dotsero, Sweetwater and Lower Colorado River Road are no longer in effect.

Sunday, August 23 10 A.M. Fire officials said the Grizzly Creek Fire is estimated at 30,362 acres and 30% contained. Hot, dry and windy weather should make for active fire conditions, particularly in the Spruce Ridge area of the fire, and near ongoing structure protection work around Bair Ranch. Smoke will continue to settle in the Roaring Fork Valley and the I-70 corridor, and the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment has issued an air quality warning for large parts of central and western Colorado, including Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield counties.


Grizzly Creek Fire officials also said today that a Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team has begun an initial assessment on the soil and vegetation in the burned area. The team will address the area's longterm recovery, debris flow risks in steep areas around I-70 and water quality concerns for Glenwood Springs. 


7:15 P.M. The Grizzly Creek Fire is now mapped at 30,362 acres and estimated to be 30% contained. Fire officials said they continued to make progress with containment lines on the west and east ends of the fire today. Smoke from both the Grizzly Creek Fire and the Pine Fulch Fire will continue to affect air quality throughout the Roaring Fork Valley, and into eastern Eagle County all the way to Vail. 


The current Type 1 Incident Management Team that has handled the Grizzly Creek Fire response will be phasing out on Tuesday, August 25, and a new Type 1 Incident Managment Team from Alaska will take its place. It's standard for teams to switch out after 14 days. 


11:45 A.M. Eagle County officials announced today that Cottonwood Pass would open to critical, local traffic on Sunday, August 23. Only pick-up trucks and passenger vehicles will be allowed over the pass. Officials said that allowable trips include those to and from school, medical or veterinary appointments, or essential business in Pitkin, Garfield and Eagle counties. Motorists should be prepared to show identification if they attempt to drive the pass, and proof of their need to travel, like a letter from an employer or confirmation of a medical appointment. Local construction and delivery truck traffic will be allowed over the pass by reservation only from 8-10 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Through traffic, recreational vehicles and trailers remain prohibited on Cottonwood Pass.


Saturday, August 22 9:15 A.M. Incident Command today said they had successfully contained the fire's northwest corner near the I-70 corridor in No Name drainage, and at the northeast end of the fire from Coffee Pot Road to the interstate. The recent developments bring containment of the fire, which sparked on August 10, to 22 percent.

Credit Grizzly Creek Fire
The Grizzly Creek Fire as of Saturday, August 22. The black lines indicate areas where fire officials say the blaze has been contained.

Officials said they expect to see moderate to active fire behavior today due to hot and dry weather and light winds. Air attack will continue for structure protection on the north and south ends of the fire, and more burnout operations are planned to remove fuel from the interstate to the top of Spruce Ridge. Crews will continue to build containment lines on the fire's western edge in the area of Bear Creek and Lookout Mountain Park.

There will be a community meeting on the Grizzly Creek Fire's Facebook page at 6 p.m. tonight (Saturday, August 22).


Friday, August 21 11:15 A.M. Firefighters expect hot and dry conditions today will make for increased fire activity, especially on the west side. Drying vegetation on the east side of the fire could lead to increased activity there. Containment of the fire is now estimated to be 11%.


Black lines on the map below show where containment lines have been established, protecting Glenwood Springs and No Name to the west and a stretch north of I-70 to the east. 



Credit U.S. Forest Service
Black lines on this map show established containment lines. Released on August 21, 2020.

7:30 P.M. Fire managers say it was a better day for firefighting efforts and crews are continuing to make progress on slowing the blaze. Weather has been a big help, even though lightning started the Red Canyon Fire Wednesday afternoon and burned 60 acres. Officials also point out resources for fighting fire across the western United States are strapped right now, but there are still about 850 personnel battling the Grizzly Creek Fire. 


The current incident command team will transition out next week. Incident Commander Marty Adell told the public during the community meeting that they'll order a new team over the weekend. The new crew will shadow the current team early next week and then fully transition on Wednesday morning. 


"This transition will be seamless," Adell said. 


Managers are also expecting an update from a team that's been assessing I-70 this week. 


"This work that the team has been doing and some of this assessment on debris flow is going to be really important," White River National Forest Deputy Supervisor Lisa Shoeffler said.


Leaders from the Colorado Department of Transportation are part of the team that will provide more information Friday. The final determination to reopen the road will come from CDOT.


The cause of the fire is still under investigation. 


Fire managers will hold the next community meeting at 6 p.m. Saturday on the Grizzly Creek Fire Facebook page.


12:15 P.M. Fire officials warn the chance of precipitation and lightning increases with concerns for potential debris flow in Glenwood Canyon. Firefighters will continue with building fire lines around the Grizzly Creek Fire perimeter. The structure protection unit will continue work in No Name and Bair Ranch. Crews will also be finishing up work at the 60 acres Red Canyon fire today. 


Officials will be hosting another live community update in English and Spanish on the Grizzly Creek Facebook page tonight at 6 p.m. 

Thursday, August 20 10 A.M. Garfield County officials have announced the Red Canyon Fire that sparked near Spring Valley yesterday afternoon has been controlled. Initial attack by air and ground resources was mobilized last night, and the fire was held to approximately 60 acres.


The Grizzly Creek fire has grown to more than 29,000 acres and is estimated to be 4% contained. Buck Point residents in Eagle County have been downgraded from evacuation to pre-evacuation status. Officials say residents can return home, but should be prepared to leave again if necessary. Yesterday, the weather over the fire had some precipitation with lightning.

7:50 P.M. Fire managers are reporting personnel pulled from the Grizzly Creek Fire are making good progress on the Red Canyon Fire that sparked because of lightning this afternoon. Dozer line is being constructed and there will be a night shift crew on the scene. The start is located roughly six miles to the south of the Grizzly Creek Fire. The Garfield County Sheriff has rescinded the evacuation orders for the Red Canyon Fire.


6:15 P.M. Personnel from the Grizzly Creek Fire were diverted to fight another blaze that broke out earlier this afternoon due to lightning. Fire officials say a new start called the Red Canyon Fire sparked near Fisher Cemetary Road and County Road 115. This new fire is reportedly 30-40 acres burning in grass and brush, and structures are threatened. Garfield County leaders issued an evacuation notice for residents south of County Road 115, north of County Road 113 and west of County Road 121. The evacuation center is at Roaring Fork High School. 

Type 1 and Type 2 helicopters, as well as several single engine airtankers, seven engines and a water tender from the Grizzly Creek Fire are responding and suppressing the fire. The latest evacuation information for the Red Canyon Fire is available here.


2:10 P.M. The latest map of the Grizzly Creek Fire shows where firefighters have established containment for the first time since the blaze started last week. The black line on the latest map shows an area north of Bair Ranch where firefighters have contained the fire. 


Credit U.S. Forest Service
The black line shows where firefighters have established containment, which was at 4% as of August 19, 2020.

Brian Scott, public information officer for the Grizzly Creek Fire, said containment is low because firefighters have been busy with more immediate needs – such as protecting structures in No Name and Bair Ranch, and doing preventative work aimed at keeping the fire away from Glenwood Springs. 

“We’re going to concentrate our efforts where we have to at that moment,” Scott said. “That doesn’t always lend to getting a deep line that’s high quality that we can say ‘Okay the fire is not going to ever cross here.’ We’re basically jumping from spot fire to spot fire to spot fire, if you will.”

In addition to the culmination of some preventative efforts, Scott said establishing containment lines has gotten easier as the size of the firefighting crew has grown. It now stands at more than 800 people.

“Now we’re staffed up after six or seven days of ferocious work with few people,” Scott said. “Now we’ve got more staff and we’re able to do some cleanup of those hot spots.”


Wednesday, August 19 9 A.M. The Grizzly Creek fire has grown to more than 28,000 acres and is estimated to be 4% contained after burning for nine days.  


The National Interagency Fire Center upgraded the national level of preparedness to five out of five on Tuesday night. That metric indicates a high level of demand for firefighting resources across the country. NIFC said multiple large and complex fires "have the potential to exhaust national wildland firefighting resources." At least 80% of the country’s incident management teams and wildland firefighting personnel are currently involved in fights against wildfires.


8:25 P.M. The Grizzly Creek Fire is estimated to be 27,000 acres, and 712 personnel are currently working on site. Officials said today that light winds had slowed the spread of the fire, and ground crews and heavy equipment expanded the fire line over the last few days. Fire crews also completed a controlled burn on a section of No Name drainage. Officials said they are watching the weather over the next few days, as winds are forecasted to pick up with a chance of thunderstorms.


Heavy smoke will stay in the area for the time being, both from the Grizzly Creek and the Pine Gulch fires. Residents from Garfield, Pitkin and Eagle counties can find an air quality forecast page on the Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program's website. Regional air quality levels can also be found on PurpleAir.


There is currently still no time estimate for I-70 reopening. Grizzly Creek Fire officials said that road damage and fire activity remain concerns, and the road was still being heavily utilized by fire fighters. There are currently no pre-evacuation or evacuation notices at this time. The next Facebook Live community meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 20 at 6 P.M. on the Grizzly Creek Fire Facebook page.


Tuesday, August 18 11 A.M. Fire officials estimated the Grizzly Creek Fire to be 27,000 acres this morning. There are currently no new evacuation or pre-evacuation orders, and I-70 remains closed with no estimate for reopening. Cottonwood Pass between Garfield and Eagle counties and Eagle-Thomasville Road remain closed.


A live community discussion will be held tonight on the Grizzly Creek Fire's Facebook page at 6 p.m.


6:25 P.M. Officials said smoke will stick around the I-70 corridor into tomorrow, both from the Grizzly Creek Fire and the Pine Gulch Fire, which is burning near Grand Junction. They also noted that neighboring communities will also see smoke into tomorrow, and the Williams Fork Fire, which is burning north of Silverthorne, will send smoke into eastern Eagle County. The Grizzly Creek Fire has its own page on the Interagency Wildland Fire Air Quality Response Program's website, which gives 48-hour forecasts for communities around the region.

12:15 P.M. According to the Grizzly Creek Fire’s daily briefing on Facebook, fire continues to be active in the No Name drainage, particularly in the northern part of the drainage. Firefighters on the ground and air support have held the fire to the bottom of the drainage. Crews have established containment and retardant lines to prevent it from spreading further to the northwest, which could imperil Glenwood Springs. 

Operations Section Chief Jeff Surber said the fire continues to make runs to the north, which is too rugged for firefighting crews to reach on foot. Aircraft have been active in that area trying to suppress it from above. Surber noted that north and northwest winds today should be helpful in containing the northern line. Dozers and heavy equipment are also being placed from Coffee Pot Campground to reachable areas across the northern line to try and cut off fuels from the top. 

Heavy equipment and resources have been put in place on the east and west sides of the fire to prevent it from spreading to more populated areas. Officials said they felt fairly confident at the moment about containment efforts in the fire’s northeast corner near Coffee Pot Road.

Structure protection for Bair Ranch went well Sunday night, officials noted, and heavy equipment was brought in to contain fingers of the fire that have spread to the southeast. Air tankers also laid down lines of retardant in an effort to suppress that corner of the fire. Surber said the fire’s southwest corner was “looking good” at the moment, and noted that retardant lines had kept that area in check. Fire crews have continued to have a presence on the ground fortifying that corner with containment lines.

Monday, August 17 10:30 A.M. Incident Command for the Grizzly Creek Fire said that favorable weather on Sunday allowed for continued water and retardant drops. Firefighters also continued with indirect and direct fire lines for sturcture protection.
Fire crews said that there was active fire in the No Name drainage, but retardant drops had kept the flames from crossing the creek. They also said that the fire was very active in the Coffee Pot Road area, but that flatter terrain had slowed the wildfire down.

Heavy smoke yesterday afternoon was due to continued burning through thick, dry fuel. Fire officials said that air quality will continue to be a concern as the fire actively burns, and that "if you can smell smoke, you are breathing smoke." Additionally, fire crews are concerned about weather in the coming days. Dry thunderstorms are forecasted for the area, along with hot and dry conditions and winds out of the north east.

There are no new evacuation or pre-evacuation notices at this time.

8:10 P.M. Fire managers say they made good progress Sunday on the fire thanks largely to the weather and wind. They say there's a chance they could catch the fire to the east, but again, that will depend on how the wind behaves over the next several days. Managers are also reminding the public smoke and fire will remain in the region for a while longer. 

"There's a lot of fuel out there," said U.S. Forest Service Incident Commander Marty Adell.

Because of that continued burning, and all the falling debris, including trees and rocks, officials aren't expecting to reopen I-70 right away. The Colorado Department of Transportation will have the final say in when the road will open, so the public is asked to be patient. 

"It's a pain for all of us and a challenge," said White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams, "but we're all in this together. It's gonna be awhile before we can sit back and relax a little bit."

10:50 A.M. A clear sky Saturday meant hotter temperatures and more fire activity in certain areas of the blaze. Fire managers say some of their containment work was successful, though, with a dozer line around Bair Ranch and other structure protection measure meant no loss of structures. Crews will continue protection measures Sunday around the gondola at Adventure Park. They'll also move north to Transfer Trail with heavy equipment building indirect line. Crews will engage in the fire directly when they safely can, but direct attack continues to be difficult because of the rugged and steep terrain. 

Firefighters will hold and improve line construction as fire comes out of deep canyons. The fire is held up right now on Spruce Ridge, but there is heavy timber that's concerning crews and fire managers. Resources will be shared with the crew on the Pine Gulch Fire, specifically heavy air tankers. The Pine Gulch Fire has grown to 81,107 acres and is only 7% contained. 

Fire managers will continue to update the public with daily operations briefings at the Grizzly Creek Fire Facebook page. All previous pre-evaucation and evacuation orders are in place and there are no new notices at this time.

Sunday, August 16 8:15 A.M. As of this morning, the Grizzly Creek Fire burned another roughly 6,000 acres. It's now at 25,690 acres with 0% containment. Officials have brought on more personnel to fight the fire. There are 625 people trying to put out the blaze that sparked almost a week ago, which is almost double the number of personnel from Friday. Fire managers are expected to release a more detailed update later this morning. 

4:00 P.M. The state has issued an air quality advisory for central and western Colorado. The Colorado Public Health and Environment Department warns that if visibility is less than 5 miles in smoke in your neighborhood, then smoke has reached unhealthy levels. People with heart disease or respiratory illness should consider staying indoors. 

According to the state, smoke is expected to drain into lower lying areas surrounding both the Grizzly Creek and Pine Gulch fires by the evening. Heavy smoke is expected through Sunday morning around De Beque and Grand Junction. Heavy overnight smoke from the Grizzly Creek wildfire will impact locations along I-70 in central and eastern Garfield County.

10:45 A.M. Fire managers report there were favorable winds Friday and fire lines held in the No Name drainage. Crews were able to prevent an eastern spread. There are now more than 550 personnel working on the blaze. The fire became very active overnight west of Bair Ranch and backed under the highway. The interstate will remain closed. Efforts for Saturday will include "structure protection in the areas of Spring Valley, High Aspen and Lookout Mountain, and continue structure protection efforts in the I-70 corridor from No Name to Shoshone Power Station, Bair Ranch and Dotsero."

Saturday August 15 - 8:30 A.M. According to the latest update on the Grizzly Creek Fire, it's grown to 19,440 acres. There was no new information about containment as of this morning. There are no new pre-evacuation or evacuation orders at this time. It's expected to be another hot, dry day, but with little to no wind.

6:50 P.M. Grizzly Creek Fire officials said that heavy overnight growth, particularly in the fire’s northeast corner, had led to a significant growth in acreage. They said that extremely dry, hot and windy conditions continue to make efforts to suppress the fire difficult, particularly in the rugged terrain where it’s burning.

A flyover on Friday morning also confirmed that while the area near Hanging Lake was badly burned, the lake and upper trail area are intact, although the long term effects of the fire on the surrounding ecosystem are unknown. 


Credit Grizzly Creek Fire
Hanging Lake Friday, August 14

There are some traffic updates as of Friday night. Independence Pass is now open to passenger vehicles. Governor Polis expressed hope that the interstate would open in 2 to 3 days, although officials said fire operations on the highway and rock fall will make that difficult. They also said that rock fall will continue to be a long term concern as the extent of damage that section of highway is evaluated. 

Officials reiterated that the fire will burn actively for quite some time, and encouraged citizens in both Garfield and Eagle counties to sign up for emergency alerts. A comprehensive roundup of resources can also be found on Aspen Public Radio’s Grizzly Creek Fire resources page.

5:15 P.M. Glenwood Springs is suspending all non-emergency flights in and out of the city's airport until further notice. The airport will be used for fire operations relating to the Grizzly Creek Fire.

The Bureau of Land Management today also closed more recreation sites on the east side of Glenwood Canyon due to the fire. The closure affects boat ramps on the southern side of the Colorado River near Dotsero, specifically the Cottonwood Landing Boat Ramp, Lyons Campground and Boat Ramp and Dotsero Boat Lamp. The recreation will be closed until further notice, and Dotsero is currently under pre-evacuation orders. 

2:35 P.M. The White River National Forest confirmed that the Grizzly Creek Fire burned through the area of Hanging Lake, but does "not currently know the extent to which Hanging Lake was impacted." Officials are waiting for smoke to clear to survey the area from the air, as it is not safe to hike into the area and survey it from the ground.

12:35 P.M. Gov. Jared Polis toured Incident Command centers in Eagle and Grand Junction Friday morning to talk with fire officials about the Grizzly Creek and Pine Gulch fires. In a statement, Polis pointed out it's a difficult time for Coloradans, "especially those in the vincinity of the fires, and we appreciate our emergency first responders and pubic safety workers now more than ever." 

Polis said top priorities for the Grizzly Creek Fire include "protecting and reopening I-70 and protecting residents and homes in the area." The governor also mentioned during his news conference that he estimates it could be another 2-3 days before the interstate will be back open to traffic. 

Safety has been the main consideration for keeping the roadway shut down. 

"It's the smoke, it's the rolling debris that's coming down the hillsides," said U.S. Forest Service Spokeswoman Mary Cernicek. "It's the fact that there's heavy equipment and big fire engines that are staged on the interstate that are moving about. They need that space to operate."

Gov. Polis is scheduled to provide an update on the fires, which are largely on Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service land, to Colorado's congressional delegation Friday afternoon.

Fire managers are reporting the most active zones for the Grizzly Creek Fire are in the eastern part of the fire on the south and north sides of the highway.

11:15 A.M. Officials have updated the map for the Grizzly Creek Fire to 13,441 acres with 0% containment. In a release, fire manager said the fire experiencered "rapid and erratic growth" Thursday. They point to the combination of "dry vegetation, steep terrain, and the Red Flag conditions of hot, dry and gusty winds" as the main drivers of the fire growth. There are currently 352 personnel fighting the blaze.

Friday, August 14 - 7:25 A.M. Officials said Friday that the Grizzly Creek Fire is currently mapped at 14,663 acres. New evacuations extended into western Eagle County last night, and included Coffee Pot Road and Sweetwater Road. Buck Point was also evacuted. Dotsero, in western Eagle County, is also under pre-evacuation orders.

The City of Glenwood Springs is not under pre-evacuation or evacuation orders, although it has declared a local disaster emergency due to the fires. The designation would allow them to tap into federal aid and assistance to combat the fires.

Credit Grizzly Creek Fire
The Grizzly Creek Fire as of Friday, August 14. The fire is now mapped at 14,663 acres, and has prompted evacuations on the east side of Glenwood Canyon in western Eagle County.

The US Forest Service also closed Eagle-Thomasville Road, also known as Crooked Creek Pass, and Forest Road 400 last night, citing a high volume of motorists looking to bypass I-70. Information about detours can be found on the Colorado Department of Transporation's website

Governor Jared Polis will be visiting Incident Command centers in Grand Junction (9:10 a.m.) and Eagle (8 a.m.) for the Grizzly Creek Fire, and the Pine Gulch Fire, which is burning near Grand Junction. That fire is now 69,135 acres and 7% contained.

8:30 P.M. Buck Point Drive, Bair Ranch, Sweetwater, and Coffee Pot Springs have been ordered to evacuate. Dotsero is on pre-evacuation notice, no orders for the City of Glenwood or Gypsum at this time. Currently the evacuation sites are the Glenwood Springs Community Center and The Gypsum Recreation Center. 

5:45 P.M. Emergency officials have published an interactive map that provides insight into the fire's spread. The map, published by Eagle County allows users to view evacuation areas and the fire's spread with color-coded sections indicating the intensity of heat.  

2:45 P.M. Independence Pass remains closed, and officials say it will stay shut as long as I-70 is closed due to restrictions from the Grizzly Creek Fire. Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said the pass and roads in Aspen are not designed to handle the volume that would be brought on by detouring traffic – which the Colorado Department of Transportation said could reach 50,000 cars per day.

“That’s a lot of volume for a two-lane narrow mountain road,” DiSalvo said in Thursday’s Pitkin County community meeting. “Even if it’s 20% of that, 10,000 cars a day is an unsustainable amount to come over the pass and travel through Main Street Aspen without causing a major impact on not only our city, but our county and emergency response.”

Traffic detouring over Independence Pass in the immediate wake of the I-70 closure led to multiple incidents with stuck tractor trailers. DiSalvo emphasized that even properly-sized passenger vehicles making their way over the pass would still be unsustainable due to traffic volume. 

DiSalvo said keeping the pass clear and open is also important in the event that rapidly changing fire conditions force emergency evacuations from upvalley communities.

“That fire may be headed our way,” DiSalvo said. “Right now it’s an unpredictable fire. Because of the winds and the inability to contain it. I think I would rather have Independence Pass left closed and reopened for emergency egress for Pitkin County if needed.”

Thursday, August 13 11:00 A.M. The Grizzly Creek Fire is currently 6,251 acres and 0% contained, according to the fire's incident management team. Firefighters, including hot shot crews, will focus their efforts on the No Name drainage Thursday. The fire reached the bottom of the drainage on Wednesday evening. 

Credit Aspen Fire Chief Rick Balentine
Fire crews from Aspen's fire department were sent to the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon. There are currently over 200 personnel, including hot shot crews, on scene from around the country.

Firefighters continue structure protection efforts around Shoshone Power Plant, Lookout Mountain and the No Name subdivision. The firefighting effort now includes 238 people, six helicopters, 11 engines and one water tender. 

Today's weather conditions include more gusty winds and dry air. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. No pre-evacuation or evacuation orders have been issued in Glenwood Springs, but residents in north Glenwood Springs should be prepared for rapidly changing conditions that could lead to pre-evacuation notices. 

Thursday, August 13 9:20 A.M. The Grizzly Creek Fire is currently 6,250 acres. Fire officials plan to announce more detailed information, including updated containment, later Thursday morning. The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team says crews cannot accept donations of food, beverages or masks. People who want to support firefighters or residents affected by the fire are encouraged to donate to their  local fire protection district, the Salvation Army, Red Cross, or the Wildland Firefighter Foundation.

Credit Grizzly Creek Fire
This map, updated as of Thursday morning, shows how the fire has spread on both sides of the Colorado River and now covers more than 6,000 acres.

7:20 P.M. The Grizzly Creek Fire was mapped at 4,624 acres with 0% containment by Wednesday night. The fire's management is going from a Type 2 response to a Type 1 team, which is the highest level. Rugged terrain and extremely hot and dry conditions made efforts to contain the blaze difficult. Officials said the conditions are similar to that of 2018, which was another recent year with record wildfire fuel conditions.

At this time, the blaze has been kept within the No Name drainage area, and officials have not issued any evacuation or pre-evacuation notices for neighborhoods within the City of Glenwood Springs. Up to date evacuations and pre-evacuation orders can be found on the Garfield County Sheriff's page or garfieldcounty.net. Current road closures can be found on the Colorado Department of Transportation page or COTrip

The Grizzly Creek Fire is getting the top priority nationally for resources, officials noted, despite that there are many large fires burning across the west, including the Pine Gulch Fire, which was mapped at over 50,000 acres on Wednesday, August 12. 

Officials will be hosting another live stream discussion about Grizzly Creek Fire updates on the fire's Facebook page on Friday, August 14 at 6 p.m.

5:35 P.M. Garfield County will move to Stage 2 Fire Restrictions beginning Friday. The Garfield County Sheriff's Office and the seven Fire Districts in the county, along with the Bureau of Land Management and White River National Forest made the announcement Wednesday. 

2:30 P.M. Fire Managers will be holding a Facebook Live Conversation on the Grizzly Creek Fire page (@GrizzlyCreekFireCO) tonight at 6 p.m. The chat will be open for questions about the future of the fire. Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority has announced Glenwood Residents are restricted from watering lawns through tomorrow, August 13, due to water source capacity.

2 P.M. Independence Pass is closed "indefinitely" in both directions, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. With traffic detouring around the I-70 closure, the department reported trouble with overlength tractor trailers attempting to use the pass. CDOT recommends that detouring traffic use Highway 133 to the south and Highway 85. 

11:30 A.M. Officials expect the fire to be extremely active and fast-moving today. Hotshot crews in Division A will prepare structure protection with hose and sprinkler kits in the No Name area. Heavy helitankers and engines will be used in Division W to secure the Shoshone power plant in Glenwood Canyon. Crews in Division N are scouting the Coffee Pot Road and Flat Tops area to identify firefighting needs and opportunities for containment along the north end of the fire. Engines, heavy equipment, and hand crews in Division Z will be working in the Lookout Mountain area preparing structure protection. 

Wednesday, August 12 9:30 A.M. The fire is now at 3,702 acres. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office has evacuated No Name, High Aspen Ranch (CR 115), Coulter Creek, CR 120 and Cottonwood pass as of last night, at the direction of Grizzly Creek Fire Incident Command. Today at 6 a.m. command of the fire was transferred to the Rocky Mountain Type 2 Incident Management Blue Team. Fire officials except continued hot and dry conditions, with winds increasing in the afternoon, gusting to 30 mph. Pitkin, Garfield and Eagle counties are under red flag warnings Wednesday between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. 

7:15 P.M. Evacuations from Coulter Creek in the Cottonwood Pass area have been ordered. Evacuees can go to the Glenwood Springs Community Center. Cottonwood Pass remains closed on both sides in Garfield and Eagle counties. 

7 P.M. The Grizzly Creek Fire is now burning 3,200 acres on both the north and south sides of of the Colorado River in Glenwood Canyon near Mile Marker 32.  Tomorrow at 6 a.m. the Rocky Mountain Type 2 Incident Management Blue Team will take over the fire response. Incident Command said that hot, dry and windy conditions have created extreme fire conditions. Residents of No Name and Lookout Mountain have been evacuated, and Bair Ranch is under pre-evacuation orders. 

Cottonwood Pass Road and I-70 remain closed with no estimate for reopening. The blaze is 0% contained.

4:45 P.M. Pitkin County is now under Stage 2 fire restrictions, and Eagle County will enter intro Stage 2 restirctions on Friday, August 14. 

4:00 P.M. I-70 remains closed in both directions as the Grizzly Creek fire continues to burn through Glenwood Canyon. The Colorado Department of Transportation is asking drivers to avoid Cottonwood Pass or Independence Pass as detours. 

Yesterday, both routes saw unusually heavy traffic. Cottonwood Pass was closed after a tractor trailer rolled over, and overlength vehicles on Independence Pass contributed to traffic problems. 

Credit Alicia Nolfi
An overturned tractor-trailer on Cattle Creek Road, near Cottonwood Pass, on Tuesday morning.

CDOT asks that vehicles over 35 feet in length, including trucks with trailers that combine for over 35 feet, avoid using Independence Pass entirely. Even passenger cars should expect slowdowns. 

“I would anticipate delays, because there’s going to be a lot more people going that way,” said Elise Thatcher, CDOT spokeswoman. “So plan for it to not be as short a trip as it might be otherwise.”

Instead, CDOT recommends Eastbound travelers take a southern route, traveling on Highway 133 towards Delta and then East through Gunnison and on to the Front Range. That route would mean a seven-hour trip from Carbondale to Denver.

CDOT advises against a northern detour via Highway 13 near Rifle, because of road construction and a restriction on oversized vehicles. A full map of recommended detours can be found here

2:20 P.M. Officials said this afternoon that flames from the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon had jumped to the south side of the Colorado River, and residents of Lookout Mountain are being evacuated. Bair Ranch is undr pre-evacuation orders. A heavy air attack is currently underway to battle the flames from above. The relocation point is Glenwood Springs Community Center.

1:45 P.M. Incident Command is now mapping the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon at 1,832 acres. There is no word yet on containment, and no time estimate on I-70 reopening.

1 P.M. The community of No Name is being evacuated, according to the Grizzly Creek Fire Facebook page. Evacuees are being directed to the Glenwood Springs Community Center. I-70 is still closed in both directions.

10:30 A.M. More than 120 firefighters are currently working the Grizzly Creek Fire, with more support teams on the way. Firefighters are focusing on keeping the blaze out of the No Name drainage area, and are prepping structures and communities for evacuation if the fire expands to the west. Air support will continue to be used to fight the blaze from above. The fire is still mapped at 1,300 acres. Officials said they expect the fire to grow as warm temperatures and low humidity is in today's forecast.

Tuesday, August 11 - 8:45 A.M. Officials said the Grizzly Creek Fire was active overnight, and that the community of No Name is now under pre-evacuation orders. I-70 is still closed between exits 116 (Glenwood Springs) and 140 (Dotsero). The Forest Service has also closed Coffee Pot Road (near Dotsero), some areas of the Flattops and Hanging Lake in Glenwood Canyon.

8:45 P.M. Officials said that air attack on the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon has concluded for the night, and will resume again in the morning. The fire is currently burning in rugged terrain north of I-70 in the No Name and Grizzly Creek drainage areas. The fire has been mapped at 1,300 acres. I-70 will remain closed overnight from Exit 116 (Glenwood Springs) to Exit 140 (Gypsum). No structures are threatened.

6:15 P.M. The Grizzly Creek Fire (formerly called the 120 Fire) is currently mapped at 1,300 acres with over 60 firefighters on site. The fire is burning in a rugged area north of I-70 near Mile Marker 120. A Temporary Flight Restriction is currently in place in the area to allow heavy air tankers and helicopters to fight the fire.

5:30 P.M. The Grizzly Creek Fire is now estimated at 1,300 acres. I-70 is still closed in both directions with no estimate for reopening. Updates about the fire can be found on InciWeb and on the fire's Facebook page.

3:45 P.M. Garfield County officials said there are currently no evacuation orders, and no structures are being threatened by what they are now calling the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon. The highway is still closed in both directions; I-70 westbound is closed at Dotsero, and eastbound is closed at exit 114 in Glenwood Springs. Multiple heavy air tankers are on scene and en route fighting the fire, along with Glenwood Springs Fire Department.

Monday, August 10 - 2:30 P.M. Glenwood Springs Fire Department has revised its evacuations; No Name is not being evacuated.

A fire in Glenwood Canyon has closed I-70 both directions. The highway westbound is closed at Dotsero, and is closed at Exit 116 eastbound in Glenwood Springs. Air support is en route. Glenwood Springs Fire Department said that No Name and Bair Ranch have been evacuated.

A previous version of this page on August 12 reported the Grizzly Creek Fire was at 4,800 acres. That was not accurate. It has been corrected. 

Kirsten was born and raised in Massachusetts, and has called Colorado home since 2008. She moved to Vail the day after graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2011. Before relocating to Basalt in 2020, she also spent a year living in one of Aspen’s sister cities, Queenstown, New Zealand.
Alex is KUNC's reporter covering the Colorado River Basin. He spent two years at Aspen Public Radio, mainly reporting on the resort economy, the environment and the COVID-19 pandemic. Before that, he covered the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery for KDLG in Dillingham, Alaska.
Eleanor is an award-winning journalist and Morning Edition anchor. Eleanor has reported on a wide range of topics in her community, including the impacts of federal immigration policies on local DACA recipients, the Valley’s COVID-19 eviction and housing crisis, and hungry goats fighting climate change across the West through targeted grazing. Connecting with people from all walks of life and creating empathic spaces for them to tell their stories fuels her work.
Ariel was the News Director for Aspen Public Radio from 2020 - 2021.