GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – New photos released by officials involved in the fight against the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon show some minor damage to Interstate 70. Currently the fire continues to rage next to I-70 a full week after it started, the highway remains fully closed in the area, and it’s not clear if there is more extensive damage to the roadway in other sections of the canyon.

(credit: U.S. Forest Service)

The photos posted on the Grizzly Creek Fire official Facebook page on Monday show a broken guardrail in an elevated stretch of the highway and small boulders littering the highway. When asked about the damage, a spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Transportation didn’t explain whether the rocks that fell down onto the road and apparently caused the damage were dislodged from the canyon wall by the wildfire.

“It is too early to estimate damages at this point. CDOT is in emergency mode to keep I-70 safely closed for firefighters to do their work and keep motorists out of harm’s way.  We will inspect bridges and other structures to determine if there has been damage and will also assess rock fall risk and other issues associated with fire impacts,” the spokesperson said.

(credit: U.S. Forest Service)

Last Friday Gov. Jared Polis visited the area and stated that he expected it would be several more days before I-70 is reopened between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum. The close proximity of the 25,000 acre fire to the interstate and it’s continued dangerous nature, combined with unfavorable weather conditions, could mean the closure could stretch out quite a bit longer.

Rockfall is always a risk when driving through Glenwood Canyon. In May of 2019, huge, heavy boulders crashed into the westbound lanes of the highway and led to closures.

Jesse Sarles