EAGLE, Colo. — Strong afternoon wind gusts swept over the Grizzly Creek Fire area for the second day in a row and once again control lines held. Despite wind gusts measured at more than 40 mph over parts of the fire, there was no increase in acreage while containment bumped up to an estimated 75%.
The strongest winds were between 8,000 – 11,000 feet, according to Incident Meteorologist Nathan Heinert. Winds at lower elevations and in valleys weren’t quite as strong. “A lot of the fire was protected, which is a good thing,” he said.
That containment lines rose to the challenge two days in a row validates all the hard work and long hours that hundreds of firefighters have put in the past 3 ½ weeks. Sixty of the approximately 80 miles of fire perimeter are now contained. Mother Nature provided a helping hand Monday night with a steady rain that dropped two-tenths of an inch of rain over most of the fire area. “Fortunately, the rain wasn’t heavy enough to prompt any concerns about runoff or flash floods”, said Heinert.
Operational focus on Monday remained on uncontained line in the No Name and Grizzly Creek drainages.
Three hotshot crews succeeded in connecting two pieces of handline along the southwest of rim of Grizzly Creek and fire managers are hoping to connect that line to No Name Creek today to secure that edge of the fire.
An unmanned aerial system (aka drone) was used to inspect the two drainages on Monday. “They looked really good,” Alaska IMT Operations Section Chief Karen Scholl said. “They weren’t showing much heat at all.”
Suppression repair continues to ramp up and fire managers are hoping to add more heavy equipment to the lineup. There are currently six dozers, six excavators and two chippers working to rehab lines in the areas of Coffee Pot Road, Bair Ranch, Red Canyon and No Name.