Southern Colorado fire swells to 103,357 acres

According to this morning’s update, the Spring Creek Fire, 9 miles northeast of Ft. Garland, Colorado, has swelled to 103,357 Acres and is 5-percent contained. Additionally, predicted rain today mean there is a flash-flood watch for the fire.

Official report:

Today’s overall fire activity is expected to be less than previous days, however, the fire will remain active in the heavier fuels as the day heats up. There could be spotting up to ¾ of a mile with higher wind gusts, and outflow winds from passing thunderstorms could push the fire in any direction.

Yesterday evening, fire moved west across the small area of uncontained fireline on the north side of Division D. Crews are currently putting fireline around this approximately 20-acre area. There is potential for spotting south of Highway 160 today. Firefighters are monitoring this area closely, cooling hotspots and performing point protection.

On the west fire perimeter in Division A, there was minimal fire activity on July 4. Today, crews will mop-up hotspots in this area, checking for any heat near structures. They will continue to secure the direct line in Division A.

In Division Z on the southwest perimeter, the fire will keep backing down the slope toward W. Indian Creek. Firefighters will continue constructing fireline near the drainage, prepping for firing operations if needed. They are also assessing opportunities for direct line construction, with the goal of keeping the fire north of W. Indian Creek.

Heavy equipment is working in Division N to connect indirect fireline to neighboring divisions. On the border of Divisions N and K on the south, there is dozer line around the north, east and south sides of South Forbes Park. Fire activity in South Forbes Park remained mostly quiet yesterday, however, scattered heat and hotspots are still a concern.

Crews made good progress on the contingency line near Bonnett Park in Division K, south of the advancing fire front. Crews are working on multiple contingency lines in this area, and they continue to look for opportunities that provide the best probability for success while minimizing resource and land impact. In Divisions K and H, the firing operations along Highway 12 and behind Pine Haven have been holding well. The fire on Raspberry Mountain will continue to spread laterally and downslope, backing to the south/southeast. Winds will be unpredictable in the narrow valley bottoms along Highway 12 which may increase the potential for spotting across Highway 12 or into subdivisions. Right now, the fire remains west of Highway 12.

Division E should remain relatively quiet in the lighter fuels; interior pockets of unburned fuel may continue to burn.

Weather: Weather will be slightly cooler with highs in the low 80s. Winds will be from the east-southeast at 8-13 mph, with gusts up to 16 mph and 25 mph during outflow winds. With incoming moisture, relative humidity levels will increase to 27-31%. Scattered showers and thunderstorms are predicted – mainly after 1 p.m. Brief heavy rainfalls are possible, and there is a FLASH FLOOD WATCH in effect for areas affected by the Spring Creek Fire.

Closures and Evacuations: Highway 160 remains closed from La Veta to Ft Garland. Highway 12 is closed from mm 7 to mm 22.5. Highway 69 is closed from mm 5 to mm 42 (open to local traffic only). For current evacuee information: Huerfano County: visit www.facebook.com/HuerfanoCountyOEM or call 719-695-9604. Costilla County: visit the San Luis Valley Emergency page: www.slvemergency.org or call 719-480-8719. Las Animas County: https://www.facebook.com/LAS-Animas-County-OEM-1417285551649252/or 719-846-2993 ext. 0.

For More Information:
Inciweb: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5875/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SpringFire2018/
Twitter: @Springfire2018 Fire Info Line: 719-695-9573
Social media identifiers are now #springfire for both areas, #southspringfire (Team Black), and #northspringfire (Team Blue).

Spring Fire Statistics:
Start Date: June 27, 2018 Location: 5 miles east of Ft Garland, CO Size: 103,357
Percent Contained: 5% Resources: 1484 (939 on the south) Cause: Human caused, under Investigation

Evacuee Meeting: There is a daily 1 p.m. meeting for evacuees held at the evacuation center located at the Blanca/Ft Garland Community Center, 17591 E Hwy 160. The meetings will be live streamed on Facebook for those who cannot attend.

Incident Information

Basic Information

Current as of 7/5/2018, 11:51:01 AM
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Human
Date of Origin Wednesday June 27th, 2018 approx. 03:30 PM
Location 9 miles NE of Ft. Garland, CO
Incident Commander Shane Greer, RMA IMT2 Black Jay Esperance, RMA IMT2 Blue
Incident Description Wildfire
Coordinates 37.496 latitude, -105.291 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel 1,494
Size 103,357 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained 5%
Estimated Containment Date Tuesday July 31st, 2018 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved Pinyon/juniper, sage, Gambel Oak, Ponderosa Pine, Mixed conifer. Energy Release Component (ERC) at 97th percentile. All fuels, live and dead, are available and are supporting extreme fire behavior.
Significant Events Fire was most active north of Highway 160, particularly in Division RR. North Spring Fire has the potential to reach Highway 69 to the northeast in 1-2 days.

Outlook

Planned Actions Continue direct and indirect line construction; improve and secure containment lines where established; scout and implement point protection strategies to protect structures, critical infrastructure, and travel corridors.
Projected Incident Activity Atmospheric moisture will continue to increase through the end of the week. However, given the current fuel conditions, the fire will continue to follow heavy continuous fuels to the north towards Gardner, the northeast towards Badito, to the east towards Three Bridges, to the south towards Cuchara and Indian Creek regardless of general wind direction. Potential for scattered thunderstorm activity which can cause gusty outflow winds in any direction.
Remarks Highway closures remain in effect for Highways 160, 12 and 69.

The fire is being managed as two separate incidents with one 209. The two IMT’s are coordinating closely in all functions. The break between the two incidents is Hwy. 160.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns The airmass remains unstable.

Today’s conditions should be slightly cooler with increasing humidities and an increasing chance of thunderstorm activity