Colorado Wildfire Update: Boone, Ryan, Bull Draw, More. Record Heat Doesn’t Help

<p>Firefighters conducted burnout operations Saturday, September 15 to secure the southwestern corner of Boone Draw Fire.</p>
Photo: Boone Draw Fire 9-17
Firefighters conducted burnout operations Saturday, September 15 to secure the southwestern corner of Boone Draw Fire.

Wildfires seemed to be slowing down in Colorado until record-breaking temperatures last week and over the weekend caused flare-ups. Nearly a dozen wildfires were burning in the state Monday morning. Most were 50 percent or more contained. Hot weather is expected early this week with a possible cool down by Thursday and Friday, the National Weather Service in Boulder reported.

Continued very warm and mainly dry. Slight chance of a late day shower over higher terrain. Elevated fire danger remains in place. #cowx

Boone Draw Fire

The Boone Draw Fire, burning 50 miles west of Craig, has grown to more than 8,000 acres over the weekend and is 60 percent contained. The fire is burning on private and BLM land, including the southwestern portion of the Sand Wash Basin Wild Horse Herd Management Area, according to Inciweb.

No structures are threatened, but an emergency closure has blocked off roads on BLM land around the fire and County Road 67. Highway 318 is open.

Drought conditions in the Sand Wash Basin have limited vegetation and water sources for the wild horses. Firefighters are also trying to minimize impacts to the greater sage grouse habitat and other cultural resources. Hot, dry and windy weather is expected through Tuesday.

More than 150 people are assigned to the fire, including 17 engines, four hand crews, two helicopters and more. The blaze started on Thursday and the cause is under investigation.

Ryan Fire

The Ryan Fire was reported Saturday night and is burning in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming. It burned nearly 2,000 acres by Sunday evening.

The fire caused “fairly significant” closures to go in effect at midnight on Monday in Routt and Medicine Bow national forests, said Aaron Voos, a spokesman for Routt National Forest.

The entire length of Forest Road 80 in Colorado is closed along with a portion of Mount Zirkel Wilderness and the Hog Park Guard Station. In Wyoming, Forest Roads 496 and 404, and a portion of Blackhall Mountain are closed.

Hunters in the area were evacuated, Voos said. About 50 people were working on the fire with more on the way.

No structures have been destroyed. The nearest structures are three miles east and north of the fire at Big Creek and Jerry parks in Wyoming, Voos said.

Bull Draw Fire

The Bull Draw Fire, near Nucla, moved to a Type 3 Incident Command on Sunday morning because of an increase in fire activity, according to a news release from the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests.

Higher temperatures, more wind and a decrease in humidity caused the fire to rapidly spread north, crossing Long Canyon.

“A fire the size and complexity of the Bull Draw typically requires a ‘season-ending’ event, such as heavy rain and/or snowfall, to fully be extinguished,” the news release said.

The fire is 60 percent contained and has burned 31,300 acres.

Silver Creek Fire

The Silver Creek Fire, near Kremmling, continued to grow over the weekend and was at 11,718 acres burned.

Evacuations for the Old Park and Gore Lakes communities were lifted on Monday morning, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Management reported. Latigo Ranch and Yost Ranch are still under mandatory evacuations.

The fire is now at 35 percent contained. Lightning started the fire in July and it had previously been 75 percent contained, burning about 5,000 acres. However, hot weather on Wednesday caused the blaze to flare back up.