Mandatory Evacuations Ordered as Beaver Creek Fire Grows to 3,800 Acres
The Beaver Creek Fire grew by over 3,000 acres Tuesday as the wind shifted and pushed the blaze east across two main roads, including one that previously marked the southeast flank of the fire, establishing spot fires on Independence Mountain.
Mandatory evacuations were ordered at 5 p.m. Tuesday for private and recreation residences in Twisty Park and Pearl, Colo. in the face of heavy smoke and high winds. Jackson County Sheriff Gary Cure said everyone was successfully evacuated from those areas by 6:30 p.m.
Fire staff worked with Jackson County and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to evacuate dispersed campers on Independence Mountain late Tuesday. No evacuation site was established, as there are no permanent residents of the area.
No containment update was released Tuesday night. Containment was reported at zero percent Tuesday afternoon.
According to a U.S. Forest Service news release, a Type II Incident Command Team will assume management of the fire Wednesday. Management transitioned from a Type IV team to a Type III team Monday.
The number of personnel working the fire stood at 120 by the end of Tuesday. Two Type I helicopters, one Type II helicopter, a Type III helicopter and an air attack plane. The Forest Service says one tanker drop of fire retardant took place Tuesday evening and additional resources have been ordered.
Bulldozers were used Tuesday to establish fire lines.
No injuries or accidents have been reported in connection with the fire, according to the Forest Service. Cure highly discourages any public travel in the area of the blaze, most of which remains on the Routt National Forest.
Most of the fire is burning in heavy timber dominated by beetle kill. The blaze spread Tuesday as a crown fire, burning from treetop to treetop.
The fire crossed the 600 Road and County Road 6W following the wind shift Tuesday afternoon. An assessment of the status of buildings along the 600 Road, which runs southwest from the community of Pearl to Big Creek Lakes Campground, is still pending.
The Forest Service says concerned cabin owners or local residents should contact the Jackson County Sheriff's Office at 970-723-4242.
Road and facilities closures have been expanded to include Independence Mountain, BIg Creek Lakes Campground, Beaver Creek and Seven Lakes Trailheads, County Road 6W, and Forest Roads 80 (Hog Park Road), 600, 681 an 689. The Forest Service plans to issue more closures Wednesday.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation. A vehicle of interest sought by Forest Service law enforcement Monday was determined to have no involvement with the fire. Anyone with information on suspicious activity over the past weekend in the Twisty Park area is urged to contact Forest Service Officer Hannah Nadeau at 307-343-2335.
The fire is located 15 miles northwest of Walden, Colo., now just two miles south of the Wyoming/Colorado state line. The wildfire was first reported late Sunday. U.S. Forest Service, state and county engines were the first to respond.
The safety of firefighters and the public remains the top priority for responding agencies.
The presence of the fire on Independence Mountain means the blaze is burning both Forest Service- and BLM-managed lands.
Wednesday's temperature in the fire area is forecast at 78 degrees with light winds from the west and a slight chance of afternoon thunderstorms.