GRAND COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – A wildfire in Colorado’s high country was 80 percent contained on Wednesday morning as fire crews battle warm temperatures and dry conditions. Crews hope to have it 100 percent contained by the end of the day.

The Rifle Range Fire started Monday and on Wednesday was estimated at nearly 625 acres.

The fire is burning near Hot Sulphur Springs and Granby in Grand County. Fire crews continue to battle the blaze in the air and on the ground.

The Byers Range Fire (credit: CBS)

The Byers Range Fire (credit: CBS)

Firefighters say the wildfire started at a public gun range from a .223 full metal jacket round. Shooting it legal and allowable at that Parks and Wildlife public range. The fire quickly spread Monday afternoon into Byers Canyon and jumped over Highway 40. The fire has forced the closure of a section of Highway 40 several times.

The Byers Range Fire near Highway 40 (credit: CBS)

The Byers Range Fire near Highway 40 (credit: CBS)

“The wind is not helping. You always see that in the late afternoons in Grand County,” Shelly Olson with the Grand Fire Protection District said.

From above, drop after drop from a firefighting helicopter helped keep the flames from reaching the highway.

The Byers Range Fire (credit: CBS)

The Byers Range Fire (credit: CBS)

Crews have been intentionally setting fires, known as back burning. They shot flares on Tuesday into dry brush surrounding the original fire, in order to stabilize what’s left of the vegetation and to prevent a larger wildfire from spreading in the future.

Fire danger across Colorado is on the rise thanks to warm temperatures, low humidity and windy conditions.

Fire crews say they are bracing for more fast moving flames in the coming weeks and say they are as prepared as they can be.

Wildfire Resources

– Visit’s Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

– See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.


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