At a community meeting Wednesday night, officials from Eagle County and the Rocky Mountain Team Black incident management team said they were adding more air support to battle the Lake Christine Fire.
Rob Berger, operations section chief from Rocky Mountain Team Black, said that residents may have noticed more air support Tuesday and Wednesday, as helicopters dropped around 19,000 gallons of fire retardant along the edge of the fire.
Shane Greer, incident commander, spoke to the crowd about the increased air support from helicopters. “You may have noticed there more of them, and they’re larger and making a lot of noise,” Greer smiled, “and that’s because there are more of them and they’re larger and making a lot of noise.”
Greer said that there are now five heavy and two light helicopters. The heavy helicopters can drop nearly 1000 gallons of fire retardant or water at a time on a drop site.
Fire retardant has the consistency of mud, and sticks to timber and other fuels when dropped. Fire retardant is being used mainly along the eastern flank of the fire to slow its growth until firefighters are able to access it.
Greer acknowledged that the noise from the helicopters may be distracting to residents, but “They are very effective and they help us, so please bear with us.”
John Cook, an air resource advisor, noted that heavy smoke is settling in the evenings on the western side of the fire, and that in the mornings, the smoke is moving through El Jebel and Basalt. “Levels are high for a short time early in the morning, but it passes, like it did today,” said Cook. He advised residents to stay indoors in the mornings, when the air quality is the worst.
Residents of Missouri Heights, Cedar Creek, Toner Creek, Seven Castles, and Taylor Road remain on a pre-evacuation status.