Update: July 29, 10:22 a.m.: All pre-evacuation notices have been lifted, due to an increase in containment--now at 72%--along with Saturday's rain. Residents are encouraged to register with both Eagle and Pitkin Counties' emergency alerts for flash-flood warnings.
Update: July 28, 12:20 p.m: The Lake Christine fire is 12,588 acres and 48 percent contained.
There will be a community fire meeting tonight at 6:00 p.m. at Basalt High School.
Crews used controlled firing operations yesterday in order to intersect with the northwest corner of the fire. This should allow fire fighters to more easily gain containment along that corner.
Today, crews are continuing work in the fire's northwest corner. They are also cutting through thick fuels in very rocky terrain and managing spot fires on the eastern side of the fire. A heavy helicopter presence will remain in the area to assist.
The residents of Missouri Heights, Cedar Drive, Toner Creek, Seven Castles, and Taylor Road remain on a pre-evacuation status.
Update: July 27, 12:30 p.m.: The Lake Christine Fire is now at 12,286 acres and is 45% contained. The morning cloud cover delayed fire activity. Crews were working to bolster the fire perimeter, and are continuing their efforts along the western border.
In the late afternoon yesterday, fuels warmed up and the fire became active in the Gambel oak on the northern edge fo the fire. There is continued support by five type 1 and one type 3 helicopters, which are utilizing a retardant near Missouri Heights. Ont he south side of the fire, winds are creating large black "dust devils". These are caused by warm, rotating air that is rising in drier conditions and have been seen on the western side of Basalt Mountain. They don't usually cause any damage, but do result in rapid changes tot he wind direction. The change in direction can possibly impact firefighting operations.
Today will be the warmest day of the week with temperatures reaching the upper 80s to low 90s. Isolated showers are possible after 1:00 pm. These showers could potentially result in erratic winds up to 30mph.
Update: July 26, 12:30 p.m.: Heavy rain missed the Lake Christine Fire, but aircrafts are assigned to incident placed more than 51,000 gallons of retardant along the northern edge.
A helibase is being established east of Missouri Heights to support Type 1 helicopters, and to reduce the time in between retardant loads. Residents in the area should expect to see and hear an increase in helicopter activity along the western edge of the fire.
Firefighters have been added to help Divisons N and S on the northwest border along Cattle Creek. These firefighters are watching for spot fires and are continuing to extend protection.
Despite heavy rainfall in the Roaring Fork Valley on Wednesday, the fire recieved almost no rain. Weather will continue to become warmer, drier, and more unstable.
The resdients of Missouri Heights, Cedar Drive, Toner Creek, Seven Castles, and Taylor Road do still remain on pre-evacuation status. Closures in the White River National Forest do still remain in effect.
Update: July 25, 2018: 6:55 p.m.: The Lake Christine Fire is now 11,990 acres and 37 percent contained, although officials from the type 2 Rocky Mountain Team Black incident team say that they expect that percentage to go up after Thursday morning's briefing.
Although some rain fell in Basalt and El Jebel this afternoon, there was very little precipitation near the fire area. However, clouds did keep temperaturesf down and humidity up.
Update: July 25, 9:38 a.m.: A new website has been created placing together various resources for the Lake Christine Fire including road closures and pre-evacuation maps as well as air quality reports. There will be a community meeting this evening at 6 p.m. Basalt High School.
Update: July 24, 9:23 a.m.: Light rain on Monday helped firefighters make progress on the Lake Christine fire, which is 39 percent contained and 11,796 acres.
Crews Tuesday will continue to work to limit growth of the wildfire. Firefighters are building containment lines and dropping retardant from helicopters along the northern perimeter.
There is heavy smoke in the El Jebel and Basalt area, with pollution reaching unhealthy levels Tuesday morning.
Update: July 23, 6:00 a.m The fire now spans 11,796 acres and is 39% contained. Its nothern perimeter is on Upper Cattle Creek Road.
July 22, 2:00 p.m.: The fire is now 10,406 acres and is 32% contained.
There will be a community meeting tonight at 6. Following the meeting, Eagle County officials will be discussing flooding potential and how residents can better prepare themselves. Both meetings will be held at Basalt High School.
Update: July 22, 8:30 a.m.: The Lake Christine fire is now reported to be 9,672 acres is 32% contained.
Update: July 21, 1:48 p.m.: As of Saturday, the Lake Christine Fire is 8,800 acres and 59% contained.
The fire was active on the northwest corner last night above Missouri Heights. Today, crews are working on direct attacking that flank of the fire.
Crews have prepped structures in Cattle Creek with fire hose and sprinkler systems.
Friday, crews began cutting fire line above Seven Castles; today they will work to extend this line down a ridgeline toward the Frying Pan River. This line will be used to protect the Seven Castles community. Firefighters have ordered hose and sprinkler systems for this area and are preparing to conduct firing operations here if the fire pushes to the southeast.
“Swing Shift” crews will continue patrols near Basalt and El Jebel between noon and 2:00 a.m.
Evacuations and Closures: The residents of Missouri Heights, Cedar Creek, Toner Creek, Seven Castles, and Taylor Road remain on a pre-evacuation status. Residents who are not yet registered with the county alert systems are encouraged to do so. Residents are encouraged to register with both Eagle County (ecalert.org) and Pitkin County (pitkinalert.org) emergency alerts.
Update: July 20, 2018, 10:52 a.m: The Lake Christine Fire grew to 8,315 acres as of Friday morning.
There will be a public meeting held Friday at 6:00 p.m. at Basalt High School. Representatives from the incident management team and cooperators will provide an update on the Lake Christine Fire and be available to answer questions from the public.
Rocky Mountain Type 2 Incident Management Team Black assumed command of the Lake Christine Fire at 6 a.m. this morning. The Type 2 team was requested due to increased fire activity, requiring a larger team to manage a wide range of needs associated with the incident as well as access to a wider variety of resources to aid in firefighting efforts.
Update: July 16, 6:56 a.m.: The Lake Christine Fire is 6,822 acres and 59 percent contained. Weather conditions Sunday, including cooler temperatures and isolated showers, helped to moderate fire behavior.
Update: July 14, 7:01 p.m.: The Lake Christine Fire is 6,787 acres and 57 percent contained.
On Monday morning, a Type 3 incident management team will take over from the current Type 2 team. This will include local, state and federal officials, including some who have already been working on the Lake Christine Fire.
The Type 2 team held its final community meeting Saturday night at Basalt High School and said the next incident command will have sufficient resources to manage the fire.
Crews are scouting the terrain on the northern perimeter of the fire, where it is likely to continue to grow. Firefighters are still monitoring the southern edge, and Operations Section Chief Keith Brink said they feel confident that area is secured.
The Eagle County Community building will reopen to the public on Tuesday.
Incident commander Mike Almas and others with the Type 2 team expressed thanks to the community for its support and gratitude. The Type 2 team made a video for the community to show their appreciation.
Update: July 14, 3:22 p.m:
Because of potential heavy rainfall tomorrow, the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood watch for the Lake Christine burn scar north of the Highway 82 corridor near Basalt and El Jebel, in effect from Sunday afternoon through Sunday evening.
Update: July 13, 7:30 p.m.: The Lake Christine Fire is 6,693 acres and 55 percent contained.
Warm and dry conditions caused some isolated flareups during the day Friday.
Update: July 13, 1:50 p.m.: Crews along the fire’s southern perimeter made great progress repairing and rehabilitating suppression line, to reduce the potential of erosion.
Much of the burned area has exposed soils which could lead to increased potential for erosion, run-off, or debris flows during rainfall events. Firefighters and local power crews continue to coordinate along the fire’s northwestern corner, and the power companies are reinstalling power poles via helicopter. Late in the afternoon, helicopters helped cool hot spots and slow fire spread along the north-central fire perimeter.
The northern end of the fire is still uncontained and is located in steep, rugged terrain, so the fire will likely continue to spread in that direction. Smoke will continue to be visible for some time, and if it occurs in the evening, flames could also be visible.
Update: July 13, 8:50 a.m.: The Lake Christine Fire is currently 6602 acres and 54 percent contained. Nearly 350 Firefighters continue to contain the fire before handing it over to a local management team.
With wetter weather and higher humidity, crews were able to access previously dangerous areas. Now, firefighters are working towards completely extinguishing the fire instead of letting the northern region burn.
The fire has burned over 6,000 acres of wildlife habitat since the fire started on July 3rd. Many animals have been displaced from their habitat. Black bears are of particular concern, and residents are reminded to follow bear procedures and secure food.
All mandatory evacuations have been lifted and residents have returned home.
Update: July 12, 10:50 a.m.: The Lake Christine Fire is now 6,345 acres and 49 percent contained.
The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office downgraded all evacuation orders. So, now all El Jebel and Basalt area residents have returned to their homes. However, anyone who was evacuated remains in pre-evacuation status.
Additionally, White River National Forest closures remain in effect, including the Basalt Mountain and Red Table Road areas.
Late Wednesday afternoon, the north-central fire perimeter became active, so helicopters were utilized to cool spot fires. A smoke plume and some flames were visible late into the night. Smoke will continue to be visible for some time, and if it occurs in the evening, flames or glow could also be visible. Crews are monitoring this activity and are prepared to respond if necessary.
Smoke will likely persist for several days. Residents can check air quality at purpleair.com.
Local power companies are now working to reinstall powerlines via helicopter operations.
The type 2 management team expects to turn control back to local officials by Monday morning.
Damage to roots and loose topsoil makes burn scars vulnerable to flooding. Heavy rains produced by summer storms will likely continue to be a concern for the burn area.
There will not be a community meeting held this evening. The next public meeting will be held Saturday, July 14, at 6:30 p.m., at Basalt High School.
Update: July 12, 8:46 a.m.: The Lake Christine Fire is now 6,345 acres and 49 percent contained. Afternoon rains slowed the fire’s growth, adding only 15 acres yesterday.
The Aspen Airport says all commercial flights have resumed, but Temporary Flight Restrictions remain in effect and could impact flights during wildfire operations. Contact your airline for flight information.
Update: July 10, 7:25 p.m.: The Lake Christine Fire is now 6,285 acres and 43 percent contained.
Officials with the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District received reports of smoke and lightning strikes along Highway 82 near Aspen Glen. Crews found two separate single trees on fire and working on suppression.
Update: July 10, 1 p.m.: The Lake Christine Fire is burning at 6,180 acres and is 39 percent contained. Incident command says growth today is expected over higher, exposed terrain.
Commercial flights from the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport will resume tomorrow beginning at 7 a.m. The Temporary Flight Restriction remains in effect but a modification now allows commercial flights, unless fire-fighting operations are active. Travelers are advised to contact their airlines for up-to-date information; flights could be canceled or delayed by firefighting work.
High temperatures and low humidity yesterday caused some isolated flare-ups. There is a chance of thunderstorms this afternoon through Thursday. While rain could help dampen the fire, lightning is also possible. Winds today will send smoke to south of the fire. That may bring light to moderate smoke into Basalt, El Jebel and Carbondale tonight and Wednesday morning.
Public health officials advise that evacuees who are returning home be cautious about food safety. Food exposed to heat, smoke and firefighting chemicals can be dangerous to eat.
Update: July 9, 7:46 p.m: The Lake Christine Fire is burning at 6,100 acres and is now 39 percent contained.
The dry subalpine slopes and steep rocky slopes that surround Basalt made containing the fire difficult. Keith Brink, operation section chief for the Northern Rockies Incident Command, estimates the team will reach 45 percent containment by Tuesday evening.
Residents east of Cattle Creek Road, including Blue Creek Trail, Blue Creek Overlook, Vista Hi Drive and the three houses on the road in between were allowed to return to their homes at 8 p.m. A police blockade will ensure that only residents are able to enter evacuated areas. Approximately 782 evacuees from 279 homes have returned home.
Roads that will remain closed and under evacuation orders are upper Cedar Drive and the entire Lake Christine Wildlife area.
Small flares will continue in the burn area as parts of the fire burns itself out. Residents are warned not to contact police if they see a small flame in the burn area. Smoke will also be visible throughout the valley and residents should be aware of air quality alerts.
July 9, 2:42 p.m: The Red Cross shelter at Basalt High School has closed as of 1 PM. The shelter was opened July 3, 2018, in response to the Lake Christine Fire and at one point housed close to 100 people. Sunday night, the shelter housed 10 people.
Anyone affected by the Lake Christine Fire and in need of further support from the American Red Cross call the casework hotline at 719-785-2768.
Additionally, The Eagle County Sheriff's Office is reporting that easterly winds at the fire today will send more smoke to Basalt, El Jebel and Carbondale through tomorrow morning. More air quality information at www.purpleair.com/map.
Update: July 9, 12:25 p.m: A public meeting will be held TONIGHT, July 9, at 6:30 p.m., at Basalt High School. Information will include current fire status and an opportunity for questions and answers. Spanish translation will be provided and the meeting will be live streamed on the Eagle County Sheriff's Facebook page.
Update: July 9, 9:15 a.m.: The Lake Christine fire could still burn for several weeks. The fire is burning in very steep terrain with pinyon-juniper and oak brush fuel type. Oak fuel types tend to have thick leaf litter deposits accumulated over many years which can harbor heat that can appear dormant for considerable time. Then when conditions are right, these fuels can reburn. This process may occur for several weeks until wetting rains have sufficiently dampened fuels to extinguish sources of heat.
The northern perimeter of the fire is still uncontained, so the fire will likely continue to spread in that direction for the foreseeable future. Additionally, within the fire’s existing perimeter, there are unburned fuels that could ignite and result in future group torching, short crown runs, and significant smoke.
Firefighters are working to secure the perimeter of the fire so that these interior flare ups have no ability to ignite fuels outside the secured lines. Those portions of the perimeter that are declared contained have been designated with a level of confidence that there are no hot spots close to containment lines.
Local residents should keep current on evacuation status from the Eagle County Sheriff’s office.
UPDATE July 8, 5:40 p.m.: The Lake Christine Fire is estimated at 5,916 acres and 30 percent contained.
At a community meeting Sunday evening, operations section chief Keith Brink said crews are "making good headway on this fire."
Over the next couple of days, up to 200 crew members may be released from the Lake Christine Fire to work elsewhere in the state.
All evacuations within in the Town of Basalt will be lifted by tomorrow morning, including the Wilds subdivision and Ridge Rd, said Basalt police chief Greg Knott.
UPDATE July 8, 2:40 p.m.: Re-entry badging is underway today at Basalt High School until 3 p.m. and will take place there again tomorrow from 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. If your photo ID shows your physical address, you do not need to pick up a re-entry tag to return home.
Unless conditions change, the Eagle County Sheriff anticipates tonight will be the last night Basalt High School will be open as a shelter.
UPDATE: July 8, 1 p.m.: The Lake Christine Fire is estimated at 5,916 acres and is 8 percent contained.
The Eagle County Sheriff’s office is advising that residents returning to Hillcrest Dr. and Silverado Dr. begin to stage at the Two Rivers park-n-ride no earlier than 1:45 p.m.
Access to homes in the Original Rd. neighborhoods will be only via a right turn from westbound Hwy 82.
There will be a public meeting at 5 p.m. Sunday at Basalt High School, with more information to follow.
UPDATE: July 8, 9 a.m.: Re-entry hours for Basalt High School will be from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM today. If your ID does not have your physical address, be sure to pick up a re-entry tag!
UPDATE: July 7, 6 p.m.: Starting tomorrow, some neighborhoods will be open for reentry. Estimated sequencing and timeframes are:
El Jebel Trailer Park
Big Pinion and Little Pinion
Original Road, Pine Ridge and Sagewood Court
Two Rivers for access to Hillcrest
Checkpoints will be in place for 24 hours following the opening. Residents will need to need to show either a reentry badge or photo ID with a physical address each time for security purposes.
Representatives from Black Hills Energy will be in the neighborhood to assist you with getting gas service restored. Please do not attempt this on your own.
For those areas not mentioned, evacuations are still in effect. The official map will be updated as areas open - bit.ly/LakeChristineFire
Update: July 7, 3:15 p.m.: The Lake Christine Fire has burned 5,434 acres and is 3% contained. It has destroyed 3 structures. 399 fire personnel are currently working the fire, including 12 handcrews, 20 engines, and 5 helicopters.
Portions of the western flank of the fire have decreased in fire potential- so much so that Garfield County and Eagle County officials have downgraded some evacuation orders and voluntary evacuations. However, residents being allowed to return to these limited areas remain in “pre-evacuation” status, should fire activity increase. Please see each county Sheriff’s Facebook pages for details.
Saturday, crews are mopping up and patrolling hot spots near Java Drive, west of El Jebel Drive. Firefighters are continuing to improve and expand upon hand and dozer line construction, as well as actively engage fire hot spots.
At least 500 residences were evacuated and potentially remain threatened in the Basalt, El Jebel, and Missouri Heights areas. See each jurisdiction’s Sheriff’s Office Facebook pages for details.
The Eagle County Sheriff’s office has numerous areas closed related to evacuations, and public traffic is NOT allowed. Although the Eagle County Sheriff’s office has begun to issue re-entry credentials to evacuated individuals, evacuees are still NOT allowed into the fire area.
Additionally, White River National Forest closures remain in effect, including the Basalt Mountain and Red Table Road areas; see the closures tab on Inciweb for more details.
Meteorologists predict an increased chance of afternoon/evening showers and thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday. This weather trend should further help moderate potential fire behavior. However, large, heavy fuels (like the pinyon and juniper woodlands) are still quite dry; such heavy fuels take longer to re-wet than fine fuels, so even after rain events these fuel types can continue to be a source of potential fire spread, especially when exposed to gusty winds.
Temporary flight restrictions (TFR) are in effect around the entire fire area. Remember, that temporary flight restrictions also apply to drones.
Public meetings will be held both Saturday & Sunday, July 7 & 8, at 5:00 p.m., at Basalt High School!
State Smoke Advisory Information: https://www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx
UPDATE: July 7, 3:15 p.m.: There will be a public information meeting held Saturday, July 7th, at the Basalt High School at 5:00 p.m. Current fire information and an update on evacuation status will be provided. The meeting will be live streamed on the Eagle County Sheriff's Facebook page.
Another public meeting is scheduled for Sunday at 5:00 pm at Basalt High School.
UPDATE: July 7, 1:12 p.m.: Currently, 1,793 people are still under a mandatory evacuation notice. 664 total homes are currently impacted by the evacuation. It is estimated that 782 people across 279 houses have been able to return home.
UPDATE: July 7, 11:00 a.m.: Air Quality Health Advisory & Monitor In El Jebel.
There is an air quality health advisory in place due to wildfire smoke from the Lake Christine Fire. Areas along Highway 82 from Basalt to Carbondale and surrounding areas have been impacted. Wildfire smoke may reach unhealthy levels. If visibility is less than 5 miles in your neighborhood, avoid outdoor activity and keep indoor air clean or consider relocating temporarily.
Residents and visitors in the Basalt area can find local real-time air quality readings by viewing the map at www.purpleair.com. This monitor is a snapshot of air quality at a fixed location. Please remember that air quality can change quickly depending on your location, winds, and fire activity. In addition, some people may be more sensitive to smoke in the air, even if the monitor indicates the air quality is good or moderate. This is especially true for those with heart disease, respiratory illnesses, the very young, and the elderly. Please use good judgement to determine if you should remain indoors.
UPDATE, July 7, 12:13 p.m. for Black Hills Energy gas services. Please call (888) 890-5554 and press #1 to speak with an operator as if you are having a gas leak. Please note that Black Hills Energy technicians have been going door to door to contact residents as well and are working to accommodate needs.
UPDATE, July 7, 9:19 a.m. : The Lake Christine Fire is 5,434 Acres, 3% containment. The residual smoke elevates health risk. Saturday and Sunday are forecast for elevated humidity. At least 925 residences were evacuated and potentially remain threatened in the Basalt, El Jebel, and Missouri Heights areas. Re-entry is underway for those who live north of Highway 82 and west of El Jebel Road. Upper Cattle Creek Road remains closed. An updated map is available here.
UPDATE, July 6, 7:00 p.m. : At 7pm, evacuations will be lifted for areas North of Hwy 82 & West of El Jebel Rd. Upper Cattle Creek Rd will remain closed, as will any roads only accessible by Upper Cattle Creek Rd. The fire is now 3 percent contained.
At 7 p.m. Friday, road closures and mandatory evacuation orders were lifted, for residents of the area north of Highway 82 and west of El Jebel Road and Upper Cattle Creek road to the Garfield County line. Upper Cattle Creek Road will remain closed, as will any roads only accessible by Upper Cattle Creek Road.
These openings will allow approximately 150 evacuated families to return to their homes. Re-entry tags, which are available at Basalt High School Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Residents who subscribe to gas through Black Hills Energy will need to contact them at 800-563-0012 to have the gas turned back on. Roving patrols will be conducted overnight to ensure the safety of properties and residents.
UPDATE, July 6, 5:00 p.m. : There will be a public meeting for the Lake Christine Fire Friday at 6:00pm at the Basalt High School. Spanish translation services will be provided. The Type 2 federal response team continues to report the Lake Christine Fire at 5,263 acres with zero percent Containment. At least 925 residences have been evacuated
and potentially remain threatened in the Basalt, El Jebel, and Missouri Heights. Mandatory evacuations are still in place and there is no timeline for re-entry. Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in effect on private, state, and federal lands in Eagle, Pitkin, and Garfield counties, so all outdoor burning is prohibited. Temporary flight restrictions are in effect around the fire area including unmanned aircraft like drones.
UPDATE, July 6, 2:00 p.m.: There will be a public meeting for the Lake Christine Fire Friday at 6:00pm at the Basalt High School. Spanish translation services will be provided.
Reporter Christin Kay spoke with Jennifer Costich, public information officer for the Type 2 incident response team about the upcoming forecast, and ground strategy for containing the fire.
UPDATE, July 6, 1:05 p.m.: The most recent numbers released by the type 2 response team show that the fire has affected 5,263 acrews with 0 percent containment.
The Red Cross is closing the Roaring Fork High School shelter today at 3 p.m. and will be consolidating all residents to the Basalt High School shelter. RFTA will be providing buses between the two schools at 3 p.m., 5 p.m., and 7 p.m.
1,971 people have been evacuated and all mandatory evacuations are still in place. There are two Red Cross centers set up. Over 110 residnets were staying at the Roaring Fork High School and about 30% are children. There have been approximately 80 residents staying at the Basalt High School. All Eagle County evacuations orders for El Jebel and Basalt are still in place.
There are 214 personnel addressing the incident, including 6 hand crews, 18 engines, and 5 helicopters.
Earlier today Governor John Hickenlooper, Senator Cory Gardener, and Representative Scott Tipton appeared at the Lake Christine Fire Command Center to express their appreciation for the ground crews, despite limited resoruces. The Lake Christine Fire was prioritized over other Colorado wildfires due tot eh proximity to houses, highway 82, and powerlines.
July 6, 12:00 p.m.: Forecast for today is increased humidities and cloud cover leading to moderating fire conditions. Thunderstorms are forecast in the area with potential for strong winds.
There is an air quality health advisory in place due to wildfire smoke from the Lake Christine Fire. Areas along Highway 82 from Basalt to Carbondale and surrounding areas have been impacted by high levels of smoke. If visibility is less than 5 miles - avoid outdoor activity and keep indoor air clean or consider relocating temporarily.
July 6, 11:05 a.m.: The community briefing last night at the Basalt High School answered some pressing questions. Besides the amazing community support, we also know that evacuees can pick up re-entry tags today at Basalt High School with a photo ID. At the briefing, officals from the federal type 2 incident management team, Eagle County, Holy Cross, and the US Forest Service talked to the standing room only about the latest fire news. Reporter Chrisitin Kay was at the meeting and sits down with Zoe Rom.
July 6, 10:00 a.m.: Residents that were evacuated can register for a re-entry tag at the Basalt High School. This doesn't mean that you can go home quite yet, but it will help facilitate the process when the evacuation orders are lifted.
There is a chance that up-valley residents could lose power for up to 72 hours. Please be prepared for power loss. If there is a power loss, check emergency websites, Facebook, and Twitter for updates.
The public is reminded to not fly their drones near the fire. Unauthorized drones can impede firefighters. Drones can force helicopters, airtankers and other aerial firefighting aircraft to ground, which will delay their efforts.
July 5, 8:30 p.m.: According to the Eagle County Sherriff Office, the fire is now at 5,263 acres and still 0 percent contained. The erratic winds make it difficult to predict where the fire is going. More updates about the fire's path are to come. This news comes after the community briefing at the Basalt High School.
All evacuation orders are still in place. Unfortunaltey, it is unclear when the evacuees will be able to return to their homes. Once evacuation orders are lifted, there will be a procedure to ensure only residents of those areas are allowed to enter. This is for neighborhood safety and security. More details will be shared as the process is refined for re-entry.
July 5, 7:30 p.m.: A community briefing on the Lake Christine fire was held at 6pm Thursday at Basalt High school.
Officials from the federal stage 2 incident management team, Eagle County, Holy Cross Energy and the US Forest Service spoke to the standing room only crowd.
Mike Almas, the incident commander, said the acreage of the fire was still holding at 4900 acres. It is 0% contained, but Almas said that could start to change Friday
Keith Brink is managing fire operations for the stage 2 team. He said that firefighters were able to use heavy equipment and handcrews to secure lines near the southern edge of the fire, near Highway 82. Brink said that today more helicopters will be used for air support, and that another team of elite “hotshot” firefighters will join the team already in place.
Holy Cross president and CEO Bryan Hannegan addressed the threat of loss of electricity throughout the valley. Hannigan said 3 of 4 transmission lines that provide power from Basalt to Aspen were damaged in the fire. Due to the current movement of the fire, he said the possibility of damage to the remaining line was low.
Officials said that there’s no prediction for when neighborhoods will be deemed safe enough for residents to return. Evacuations will be lifted in gradual stages, and only residents of the neighborhood will be allowed back in.
July 5, 5:15pm : A community meeting with fire updates is scheduled for 6pm at Basalt High School. There are several options for those seeking to volunteer and nearly 200 crew members fighting the fire on Basalt Mountain.
July 5, 2:00 p.m.: Reporter Wyatt Orme checks in with Elizabeth Stewart-Severy from his vantage point downvalley. Orme has been at both evacuation sites and has been following the development of the Lake Christine Fire all day.
A public community meeting will be held Thursday at the Basalt High School at 6:00 p.m.
July 5, 1:30 p.m.: Reporter Christin Kay is in the field and brings updates from the Lake Christine Fire.
July 5, 1:00 p.m.: Reporter Elizabeth Stewart-Severy spoke with Karen Schroyer, U.S. Forest Service District Ranger. They discussed how the Lake Christine Fire is now on the White River National Forest and what that means moving forward.
July 5, 12:30 p.m.: Rumors of Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents at shelters are false. For further information contact 970-445-4911. Evacuation information in Spanish is available from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office.
The fire was started at the Basalt gun range. Allison Marcus and Richard Miller of El Jebel are facing misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree arson for starting the Lake Christine Fire.
According to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, the suspects are accused of firing tracer rounds that ignited the fire near Basalt on Tuesday evening. Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages the outdoor shooting range, which remained open after Stage 2 Fire Restrictions went into effect.
The Aspen Daily News is reporting that Marcus and Miller are due in court on August 17th in El Jebel.
July 5, 12:15 p.m.: Following a press conference, we now have some updated numbers. Over 4,900 acres are burning, with 0 percent containment on Basalt Mountain. Crews are currently prioritizing power lines and removing dry brush that fuels fire.
Reporter Wyatt Orme is on the scene at the Roaring Fork School Disctrict evacuation center and talks with news director Alycin Beketesh.
July 5, 12:00 p.m.: Power lines continue to be a concern. If there is a power outage, Aspen Valley Hospital’s emergency services will remain fully operational. All scheduled elective surgeries, tests and physician appointments will be canceled for July 5.
Summer programs at Basalt schools were canceled for July 5.
Child care centers in the evacuation areas are closed today and many midvalley child care centers are following school closures in the Roaring Fork School District.
July 5, 11:45 a.m.: Pets are not being accepted at the Roaring Fork High School shelter. Small pets are being sheltered at Colorado Animal Rescue in Glenwood Springs. Garfield County Fairgrounds in Rifle is accepting livestock. In addition to the Roaring Fork High School, there is an evacuation center at the Basalt High School.
Volunteers at the Fairgrounds are not needed at this time, but donations of hay and 5 gallon buckets are welcome.
July 5, 11:30 a.m.: Christin Kay talks with Aspen Public Radio reporter Elizabeth Stewart-Severy, who has been following air quality connected to the Lake Christine Fire. They discuss the health risks associated with the smoke and ash produced from the fire.
July 5, 11:00 a.m.: Aspen Public Radio reporter Wyatt Orme spoke with Mary Robinson at the Basalt High School evacuation center. She and her husband were evacuated from their home near El Jebel last night.
July 5, 10:35 a.m.: Pitkin County issued an alert yesterday afternoon telling residents upvalley of Basalt to prepare for possible power outage of up to 72 hours. This was because of a damaged transition line at one of the substations, and fire threatening another station. Jenna Weathered with Holy Cross Energy says conditions close to the Basalt substation have improved.
The Eagle County Sherriff's Office has provided a map of the fire on their Facebook page.
July 5, 10:17 a.m.: Evacuations went into place overnight in Missouri Heights and the El Jebel Trailer Park. Another evac center is now open at Roaring Fork High School. Officals say to get to the nearest evac center and stay off of Highway 82.
In order to conserve water for firefighting operations the Town of Basalt is now implementing Stage 2 water restrictions
At this time, the Salvation Army is coordinating donation efforts: (970) 748-0704
July 5 9:41 a.m.: The Lake Christine Fire grew significantly on July 4th, due to erratic outflow winds, extremely dry fuels and low relative humidity. Three homes have been reported as destroyed.
Over 500 homes have been evacuated and all Basalt residents are asked to be prepared to evacuate.
Reporter Christin Kay attended a community meeting hosted by fire officials to address the concerns of Basalt residents. She spoke to Aspen Public Radio’s Alycin Bektesh following yesterday evening’s briefing.
July 3, 9:30 p.m.: A wildfire started at the Lake Christine Shooting Range yesterday evening and spread across the hillsides above Basalt. As of 9 p.m., the fire had spread to an estimated 50 to 60 acres and had not been contained by crews from Carbondale, Snowmass, Aspen, Rifle and the Upper Colorado River Fire.
According to a spokesperson for the Basalt and Rural Fire District, no structures had been damaged as of noon on July 4, but 80 homes were threatened. Officials ordered the following areas to be evacuated: Hillcrest, Silverado, Original, Pine Ridge, Sagewood, Homestead Trailer Park, the Wilds Promontory and Wild springs, Ridge Rd, Pinion and Cedar Dr., Homestead, Sopris, Spur, Tucker, Hillside, Curtis, Longhorn, and all addresses on the North side of Midland Ave. A second shelter has opened at Roaring Fork High School in Carbondale, and evacuees are asked to go to the nearest shelter and not drive on Highway 82.
Drone owners are reminded not to fly near fires as they can ground aircrafts and have endangered firefighters and slowed the response.
Electric outages are expected due to power line damage, as are phone service interruptions.
Allison Marcus and Richard Miller of El Jebel are facing misdemeanor charges of fourth-degree arson for their role in starting the Lake Christine Fire.
According to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office, the suspects are accused of firing tracer rounds that ignited the fire near Basalt on Tuesday evening. Colorado Parks and Wildlife manages the outdoor shooting range, which remained open after Stage 2 Fire Restrictions went into effect.
U.S. Forest Service Stage 2 restrictions prohibit firearms discharge, excluding lawful hunting activity.
Marcus and Miller are due in court on August 17th in El Jebel.
This story will be updated as information becomes available.