Updated at 6:56 a.m. on Wednesday, June 28, 2023
The Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit reduced the estimated area burned by the Spring Creek fire to 2,500 acres Tuesday night. Firefighters were able to keep growth of the fire minimal and currently have it 5 percent contained, despite dry and windy conditions.
A national Incident Management Team will take over management of the fire Wednesday. Ideal fire conditions in the area will persist through Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.
Our original story continues below.
More than 300 firefighters are working to contain a wildfire burning in Garfield County along Interstate 70, officials say.
The Spring Creek fire ignited Saturday near the town of Parachute. Initial growth was slow — by Monday morning, the fire had only spread to 212 acres. However, the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit said Monday night’s high winds pushed the flames through woody shrubs and grass, fueling the wildfire's growth to more than 3,000 acres.
The wildfire is endangering residences and natural gas infrastructure, according to reports from the National Interagency Fire Center. Eight separate teams are fighting the fire on the ground and crews are using helicopters and air tankers to smother the flames, said David Boyd, a spokesperson with the White River National Forest. Emergency officials in Colorado have requested help from a national Incident Management Team.
So far, no evacuations have been ordered. Nearby residents are encouraged to sign up for county emergency notifications. The Colorado Department of Transportation had not issued any I-70 travel alerts related to the fire as of Tuesday morning.
Public health officials have issued an air quality health advisory for southern Garfield and northern Mesa counties. If smoke becomes thick in those areas, residents are advised to remain indoors, especially if they suffer from heart disease, respiratory illnesses or are very young or elderly. Inhaling wildfire smoke can cause several health issues, including headaches, a cough, and difficulty breathing.
Those in the Denver metro area may see a plume of smoke from the fire. As of Tuesday morning, an air quality alert has not been issued for the metro area.
Temperatures across Colorado are expected to be high Tuesday, with many communities expected to hit highs in the low to mid-90s. Parts of the Western Slope, ranging from Grand Junction to the Four Corners region, will experience elevated fire conditions due to warm, dry and windy conditions.
This is a developing story and may be updated.
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