JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Fire season is off to an earlier start in Colorado. On Saturday, fire crews continued to work two separate wildfires; the Platte River Fire in Jefferson County and the Straight Creek Fire in Summit County.
“It wanted to grow yesterday in the afternoon as the winds started picking up, and it was getting warmer like it is right now. It was wanting to grow, but we had those heavy helicopters that could really pound it and keep it from spreading,” said David Boyd, Public Affairs Officer for the White River National Forest.READ MORE: Drawing Down The Blue Mesa To Help The Dry West
Boyd has been keeping a close eye on the Straight Creek Fire, burning adjacent to Interstate 70, just east of Dillon.
The fire was reported Thursday evening and by Sunday, it was 80% contained. Thanks to the two heavy helicopters, one light helicopter, and two hotshot crews the fire didn’t grow beyond eight acres.
“That’s a lot of resources on a small fire, but you know, these large fires that we had last year all started small and so with these resources we were really able to pound this thing and keep it at eight acres,” said Boyd.
The two heavy helicopters were sent to other fires Saturday, but the light helicopter remained along with the two hotshot crews.
“Two hotshot crews on eight acres is, I mean, they’re getting some work done so things are looking pretty good,” said Boyd.
The Platte River Fire in Jefferson County was a different story. The terrain was harder to access, and loose granite made it tough for crews on the ground to get their footing.
The fire is burning about 11 miles southeast of Deckers as the crow flies. To access the fire from the ground, West Metro Fire’s dive team has been ferrying hand crews across the river into the steep terrain.READ MORE: 'He Is The Face Of Cheyenne Frontier Days': Garth Brooks Remembers Chris LeDoux Before Taking Stage
Despite the difficulties, on Saturday, officials said there had been no growth. The fire was steady at 37 acres and with continued air support, officials were confident they would get the upper hand.
As a precaution, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office tweeted evacuation orders will remain in effect until at least Sunday evening.
Update #PlatteRiverFire: evacuations will remain in effect until Sunday evening at the earliest, although that may be extended. Fire remains at 30+ acres with a very active scene and Platte River Rd remains closed. Workers are expected to do repairs re: downed power on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/xEtg76naDx
— Jeffco Sheriff (@jeffcosheriffco) June 11, 2021
Boyd said the fire season is off to an earlier start than usual and in the high country. There are a lot of heavy, dense fuels, like beetle kill.
“Over the last few years these heavy fuels have just been drying out and drying out, and we haven’t had enough moisture for them to really recover,” he said.MORE NEWS: Search For 3 Missing After Larimer County Flooding To Resume Saturday
The towns of Dillon, Silverthorne and Frisco went into immediate stage one fire restrictions on Friday, and it’s likely other areas will soon follow.