Update from Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit: July 23

 Fire resources from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit (UCR) continue to respond to initial attack fires and conduct “smoke checks” on reported fires, resulting from lightning storms passing through the area.  Across the protection zone, multiple storms have occurred, some with adequate precipitation to extinguish small fires and/or allow fire resources to suppress the fires before they grow larger.  Primarily in the west zone of the UCR, larger fires are occurring.  No facilities or structures have been threatened by these fires.

A new single-tree fire (Coon Creek) was reported along Highway 65 near Powderhorn Ski area on Grand Mesa this morning.  It is located on private land about 6 miles from the Powderhorn Ski area and adjacent to National Forest System lands.  Yesterday’s Powderhorn Fire on private lands is contained, with the expectation of control today, as per the Plateau Valley Fire Chief.

Several fires exist within the BLM’s Black Ridge Canyon Wilderness area.   The Wrigley Fire that was reported Saturday remains at 72 acres in size and firefighters continue to build line around it and work toward control.  Six smokejumpers and a 20-person fire crew are assigned to the fire, along with helicopter support.

The largest is the Long Mesa Fire, also located in the Black Ridge Canyon Wilderness area, just south of the Colorado River.  This fire was started by lightning; is estimated to be 460 acres in size; and is burning in remote, rugged terrain with difficult access.   Resources on this fire include a 20-person initial attack crew, the Texas Canyon hotshot crew, the Chena hotshot crew (Alaska) and two smokejumpers.

The Ute Creek Fire is located approximately 6 air miles northeast of Gateway, CO and south and east of Highway 141.  The fire is approximately 5 acres in size and is visible from Highway 141.  It was started by lightning and is burning in remote, rough and rugged country.  On Sunday, three smokejumpers were dropped onto the fire and retardant was used to slow the spread.  In addition to the smokejumpers, the Uniweep Fire Module crew and one squad of the Bonneville hotshot crew (Salt Lake City) are also working the fire.

Forecasted weather calls for continued thunderstorms, high temperatures and variable precipitation.  Lightning from these storms is expected and spotty precipitation may result in additional fires.  Meanwhile, gusty and erratic winds may be associated with these storms.

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