Loma, Colo. – The Oil Springs Wildfire in Rio Blanco County has spread over 11,993 acres with no containment, and the Wild Cow Fire in Garfield County has burned about 553 acres. Officials were hopeful that by Thursday morning the Oil Springs Fire would subside enough to allow traffic to resume on Colorado 139, but with the flames enclosing on nearby roadways, Douglass Pass is still closed,
“On Thursday we assessed that the fire was still too close to the roadway to open it to the traveling public,” says Colorado Department of Transportation’s Elise Thatcher.
The highway closure is between mile point 6 in Loma, Colorado and mile point 64, South of Rangely,
“Dead grass, warm days, and strong winds have proven to be ingredients for cooking up the perfect storm in Loma’s surrounding areas,” explains KREX5 News reporter Reilly Spence.
The fire team anticipates winds could get up to 20-25 MPH soon, pushing the Oil Springs Fire even closer to roadways, but are relieved that the Wild Cow Fire will not pose a threat to any drivers due to its location near Baxter Pass.
“We do not have any need for closures right now with the remote location. So for right now people don’t need to reroute anything; the 139 closure for the Oil Springs Fire is going to be the most impactful for the community right now,” says Bureau of Land Management’s Eric Coulter.
If you plan on traveling over Douglass Pass this weekend, the CDOT says you may have to find an alternate route,
“Generally the most direct alternate route is taking Highway 13 North of Rifle to Highway 64 or US 40 instead, and then continuing East or West,” continues Thatcher.
They also encourage anyone driving, camping, or recreating in Colorado to always practice fire-preventative measures, such as keeping chains inside of vehicles to prevent sparks on roadways, avoiding cigarette-tossing, and not parking on dry grass.
To keep an eye on the fire and road closures, you can visit Homepage — Colorado Department of Transportation (codot.gov).