GRANBY, Colo. (CBS4) – Despite dry, windy conditions, fire crews said they were able to make progress on the East Troublesome Fire Saturday, and forecasted snow was expected to help the efforts Sunday.

As the wind whipped through parts of the East Troublesome Fire, Sean Richardson was constantly checking the baby monitor in his daughter’s room. It’s been there since he evacuated on Wednesday.

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“You can’t see the exterior of the home, but you can see in that room, and at least that portion of the room is not engulfed in flames,” Richardson said.

So far, the fire remains a half mile away from his home in Grand Lake. For now, Richardson believes his home is safe, but he knows how quickly that can change.

“The wind could change any minute and being a half mile away, that could be it,” Richardson said.

Saturday proved to be a tough, but not impossible day for fire crews as they weathered the windy conditions. While a spot fire on the fire’s southern edge near Highway 40 popped up, officials said fire growth was minimal near Granby and Grand Lake.

A fire information officer said the most wind-driven activity was on the northern end of the fire. In an evening briefing Saturday, one official said the Thompson Zone near Estes Park was most active throughout the day.

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“This portion of the fire has grown significantly throughout the day,” said Noel Livingston with Pacific Northwest Team 3. “It is threatening the Estes Park area.”

During the question and answer portion of the evening briefing, homeowners inquired about when they would be able to return to their homes. Grand County Sheriff, Brett Schroetlin, said it remains unsafe.

“Until we can actually get this fire to the point where we can actually feel safe for reentry, that’s our number one goal,” Schroetlin said. “We need to continue to protect those structures that haven’t been lost, continue to protect those areas in there, and it’s time intensive.”

Holed up at the Homestead Motel in Granby, Sean Richardson is waiting for the moment the sheriff’s office gives the green light. With snow in the forecast, he hopes it’s soon.

“Hey, if we can just hold out until then, we’ll probably be okay,” He said.

(credit: CBS)

Still, snow will only do so much, as this fire has already claimed the homes and even lives of some of his neighbors.

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“I just feel for those guys and almost feel guilty about my house still being there, but I’m just praying for everybody.”

Officials say most of the fire’s impact has been on the west side of Highway 34 so far.

Snow is not expected to put out large fuels, or fires but will help firefighters make progress. Fire information officer, Christopher Joyner, told CBS4 sage and grass absorb moisture quickly, which could help slow the fire’s spread.

Conor McCue

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