Grass fire

Ward Gulch Fire 2013

  Brush Creek Fire  

Ward Gulch Fire update - 10 am Friday

June 8, 2013

The Ward Gulch Fire is 100 percent contained. Firefighters will continue mopping up and patrolling. Some smoke may be visible as pockets of vegetation within the fire perimeter burn. Also, dust devils of swirling ash will be common on windy days. These are often mistaken as smoke.

Ward Gulch Fire update - 8 am Wednesday

June 19, 2013
A red flag warning is in effect, with high winds and low humidity forecasted, which is a concern for the fire management team. Residents in and around Garfield County, and especially the Rifle area, should be aware of the potential for increased fire activity with this weather. The fire is still at 95% containment, with 100% containment expected by the end of the shift. The fire area covers 485 acres, and is being managed by two crews, two engines and a medium helicopter. At the end of Wednesday's shift, fire management will transfer to the local BLM office. There will be approximately 50 fire personnel working on the fire starting Thursday, if conditions do not change. Firefighters are working on soil erosion protection along the fire line, while also treating hot spots and smoke flare-ups as needed.

The current cost is estimated at $1.5 million.

Ward Gulch Fire - 6 pm update Tuesday

June 18, 2013
Crews made progress today bringing the fire to 95% containment. There are 208 personnel at this time still working on this fire; however, plans are to demobilize a number of firefighters in the next 24 hours. Barring any unforeseen change in conditions, the fire management will pass to the Bureau of Land Management local unit at the end of the shift Wednesday, and those teams will monitor the fire until it burns out.

Ward Gulch Fire - 8:30 am Tuesday - parks reopen Rifle Falls Park is fully open, including for overnight camping. Rifle Mountain Park is open, and will be available for camping starting Wednesday night. The two parks had been closed to public use as a precaution, and the vegetation directly at the camping areas was not affected. Fire damage is visible from Colorado State Highway 325, from Grass Valley Road, or from the dam area at Rifle Gap, but the fire area is out of view from the central camping areas in these parks.

There is no change in the 485-acre size of the burn area or the 80% containment overnight Monday, however fire personnel hope to bring the containment to 100% by Tuesday afternoon. This means the fire is contained within boundaries while it burns itself out.

"While the fire is still burning within the area, we are moving towards a stage of mop up and rehabilitation now," said Pat Thrasher, Incident Public Information Officer. "This will mean going back over the fire lines and building water bars to reduce soil erosion. We will use firefighter teams to do this before they leave." Plans are to allow for natural revegetation. This fire burned quickly in the pinon and juniper, so did not damage the roots of the plants, and there may be some growth this summer in the area.

Ward gulch map The estimated cost of the fire has reached $1.2 million. The fire management strategy was to heavily deploy air resources on the front end. That kept it from spreading too quickly, and had it developed into a 2-week event, it could have cost a million dollars a day.
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Garfield County Emergency Management
107 8th Street
Glenwood Springs, CO  81601
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