45 Fire: Wildfire in Rapid Creek area of Palisade

Local News

PALISADE, Colo. – Water dropping helicopters, firefighters, and fire trucks rushed to the scene when a wildfire broke out last evening. And as the flames raged through 32 acres of the Rapid Creek area, around 20 homes were evacuated. But, good news, the fire department’s most recent update says the fire is currently 90% contained with no active flames.

Flames were first reported Thursday around 5:00 p.m. near I-70 mile marker 45 and quickly spread to the Rapid Creek area. Wind and dry vegetation fueled the fire forcing evacuations of about 20 homes. Multiple fire agencies responded immediately including several water-dropping helicopters and planes. I-70 and U.S. 6 were closed for several hours because of the fire. Both roads are now open.

 One home and four sheds are severely damaged, possibly lost, and several power poles have been lost. Several other buildings also sustained minor exterior damage from fire
Throughout the evening, two units with the Palisade Fire Department remained on scene responding to spot fires and flare-ups.

Today firefighters are focusing on protecting homes, putting out spot fires, and building containment lines around the fire. The 45 Fire has the potential to grow today with more hot, dry, and windy weather expected. Fire crews are working in difficult terrain with loose boulders and dry vegetation. Crews will be also working on mapping the fire to determine the size of the fire and the amount contained.

The agencies involved include the Palisade Fire Department, Clifton Fire Protection District, De Beque Fire Protection District, Lands Ends Fire Protection District, East Orchard Mesa Fire Department, Mesa County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Wildland Fire Team, Colorado Department of Transportation, Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control, Colorado Department of Transportation, Rifle Aircraft, Xcel, and the Bureau of Land Management.

The evacuation area is still closed to the public, it is only open to residents at this time. One adult and their dog were displaced. The American Red Cross is available to assist if there are any sheltering needs. Evacuees who need assistance may call (970) 242-4851 and select option 1.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Once it is safe to do so, fire investigators will work to determine the cause and origin of the 45 Fire.

A reminder, most of Mesa County is under Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. For more information, visit Mesa County’s Interactive Fire Map at bit.ly/Fire_Restrictions

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