Grizzly Creek Fire On I-70 In Glenwood Canyon Forces Residents To Evacuate

Courtesy of Lindsay Bobyak
The Grizzly Creek wildfire photographed by tubers on the Colorado River.

Update 8/12 - 2:35 p.m.

This story is no longer being updated. Read our latest story about the Grizzly Creek Fire here.

Our original story continues below.

The Grizzly Creek Fire near Glenwood Springs has now prompted evacuations. The fire has burned 3,200 acres as of Tuesday night.

Residents of No Name and Lookout Mountain were issued evacuation orders Tuesday afternoon. The fire is moving uphill in Glenwood Canyon, officials said. And residents of Bair Ranch have been notified of pre-evacuation orders.

Interstate 70 remains closed between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum with no estimated time for reopening. Both directions of the interstate were closed Monday afternoon from Glenwood Springs to Dotsero. 

The Colorado Department of Transportation paused construction in some places to allow for detour traffic while crews battle the fire and assess rockfalls and damage to several bridges on I-70.

A map of the detour route.

CDOT spokeswoman Elise Thatcher said motorists should take U.S. 50 through Gunnison. There's construction on the would-be northern detour on State Highway 13 to U.S. 40. And Cottonwood and Independence passes are now backed up.

"It may be a shorter route, but it's going to take a long time," she said. "There's a lot of other vehicles on those roads, and they are not designed to handle that level of traffic."

CDOT crews checked road infrastructure earlier Tuesday and found no damage, Thatcher said.

Glenwood Springs resident Lindsay Bobyak was floating in the Grizzly Creek area to Two Rivers Park on Monday and said she drifted past when the fire started.

Courtesy of Lindsay Bobyak
A burn next to I-70 photographed by tubers on the Colorado River as the Grizzly Creek wildfire rages nearby.

"We thought it was just going to be like a small side of the road fire that would get taken care of quickly," she said. "By the time we had passed by the fire, it was already taking up some scrub oak and kind of growing really rapidly, and to the point like, we could feel the fire on the river."

Cars drove through the smoke and fire. Within minutes the fire "exploded" and spread up the Grizzly Creek Canyon drainage area, Bobyak said.

A CDOT employee was working on a bike path area nearby and ran over with a fire extinguisher but by then it was too late, she said.

More than 200 firefighters are fighting the blaze to keep it out of the No Name drainage and the north side of the Colorado River. The terrain is rugged and hard for firefighters to safely work in, officials said. 

Another fire is burning north of Grand Junction. The Pine Gulch Fire has burned nearly 37,000 acres and is 7 percent contained.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

CPR's Nathaniel Minor contributed to this reporting.