The Beaver Creek fire in the Routt National Forest has grown to more than 5,300 acres and 40 homes are now threatened by the blaze in Northern Colorado, just two miles south of the Wyoming-Colorado border.
Michelle Kelly, Public Information Officer with the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Blue, said containment has been difficult because of windy conditions and beetle kill trees.
“There’s a significant amount of dead timber in the forest where this fire is burning, and with that dead timber it has very low moisture that it’s holding and it’s burning very easily,” said Kelly.
Making things more difficult, Kelly explained, are “snags.”
“That’s a dead tree that’s fallen and caught up. And to go into those areas it’s very dangerous for firefighters,” said Kelly.
She said besides the fire itself, low air quality from smoke also poses a risk for residents, and advised those with respiratory problems to stay indoors.
“Keep their doors and windows closed if they need to, and the wind and the smoke does shift throughout the day and sometimes it comes in and sometimes it goes out,” said Kelly. “So if you don’t have to be out exercising in it, you don’t have be out working in it, definitely stay inside if it is a concern for your health.”
The fire is just 5 percent contained, and Kelly said it’s unclear how long it will burn. 379 firefighters are now assigned to the fire.