GALLERIES: COLORADO'S WORST WILDFIRES
DENVER (CBS4/AP) – Besides the Black Forest Fire, several other wildfires are burning across Colorado.
Firefighters are making progress on the Big Meadows Fire burning in Rocky Mountain National Park. The fire is 60 percent contained and has burned nearly 500 acres. The blaze is burning in a remote area of the park that doesn’t have any structures. Some trails are closed but the park remains open to visitors.
On Sunday a firefighter battling the Big Meadows Fire was taken the hospital for a medical emergency, which wasn’t related to the fire. The firefighter’s condition is unknown.
The West Fork and Windy Pass fires are now being managed as the “West Fork Complex.” There was significant growth in both fires overnight. The West Fork Fire has more than tripled in size, growing to more than 1,700 acres. The Windy Pass Fire also grew to more than 100 acres. Firefighters were working on structure protection Sunday with helicopters making water drops.
The fire burning in Dinosaur National Monument has grown to 370 acres. There is no threat to structures and fire crews are letting the fire burn for the most part. They say fire provides natural benefits like fuel reduction, returning nutrients to the soil and improving wildlife habitat and forage. Lightning started several smaller fires which grew into one larger fire. Visitors to the park may experience smoke but the park is open.
A wildfire burning north of Rifle seems to be slowing down. Lower temperatures and a little moisture helped lessen the intensity of the Ward Gulch Fire on Sunday. Fire spokesman Pat Thrasher said the fire, started Friday by a smoldering lightning strike, is now estimated to be burning on 485 acres. It’s 60 percent contained.
No houses were immediately threatened by the Ward Gulch Fire but the residents of 12 homes were ordered to leave, along with campers at Rifle Falls State Park, Rifle Mountain Park and the nearby White River National Forest.
The danger isn’t over yet at the Ward Gulch Fire, however. The National Weather Service says gusty winds and very warm weather will increase the fire danger in parts of western Colorado by midweek.
Containment of the Royal Gorge Fire has increase to 85 percent. The bridge is expected to reopen soon. The fire has burned more than 3,200 acres since it began on Tuesday.
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