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Grizzly Creek Fire UPDATES: Fire At Mile Marker 120 Closes I-70 In Both Directions

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. 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.  

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

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.

This is a developing story.