Fire crews of 226 personnel continue to diligently work on suppression efforts for the Silver Creek Fire inG rand and Routt Counties. As of Wednesday evening, fire officials report fire growth to approximately 4,100 acres. At 6:00 am on Thursday morning, the fire command transferred from a Type III team to the command of the Rocky Mountain IMT blue team, a Type II team. The Rocky Mountain IMT has already been working alongside the Type II team, gaining knowledge of the current progress. This change allows for further fire resources.
Continued dry, hot and windy weather conditions have persisted and further extended fire perimeters on the south side, prompting safety concerns for Old Park and Gore Lakes residents. At 2:15pm on Wednesday, U.S.F.S Incident Commanders and Brett Schroetlin, Grand County Sheriff, ordered an evacuation of Old Park/ Gore Lakes residents. Latigo residents were evacuated on August 13, 2018.
A community briefing was held at West Grand High School at 9pm, Wednesday, to provide details on fire efforts and answer community questions.
Ray Jennings, Grand County Chief of Emergency Management, initially spoke on the safety of residents and evacuation efforts, “evacuation is always a preventative piece that we put into place to keep everybody safe and firefighters safe.” As of 9pm Wednesday, Brett Schroetlin announced that the evacuation went smoothly, and the evacuation was considered 100%, even though 35 residents opted to stay in their homes.
Earlier on Wednesday afternoon, the fire was reported to be 3,198 acres. Winds prevailed throughout the afternoon on Wednesday, assisting in unfavorable conditions for fire crews and pushing the fire further towards the south growing to 4,100 acres, by Wednesday evening. Kevin Thompson, Fire Management Officer Routt National Forrest, updated attendees of the fire. Fire movement that progressed to the Management Action Point line 9 (MAP9), near road 250, prompted fire officials to recommend evacuation of Old Park communities to the Sheriff. “The closest house is about six tenths of a mile from the edge of the fire in Old Park,” relayed Thompson. Thompson continued, that the crew at Latigo “have been working very, very hard” and an area of the fire is about 300 yards from Latigo Ranch.
Heavy tankers and helicopters have been assisting with retardant and water drops along fire and dozer lines on the southern side of the fire. Bulldozers, dozer lines, feller bunchers, and retardant drops near road 185 are also being used for suppression efforts. Currently, there are “night operations from both teams II and III” said Thompson, along with engines, and hot shot crews in areas of Latigo Ranch and Old Park. “We brought in a shot crew alpine, and a couple other ones to start working along the 100 road,” Thompson said.
Lighter winds and higher relative humidity are expected for Thursday, which would be in the favor of fire crews. However, thunderstorms are also possible which creates downdrafts. Kevin Thompson iterated his confidence in the fire crews and states "if the weather changes, they are going to make those adjustments and they are still going to keep their eye on the prize, which is the homes and the values out there.”
Highway 134 will remain closed during the evacuation to minimize traffic and help facilitate safe firefighting activity. As Grand County Sheriff, Brett Schroetlin is also the county fire warden. He will notify individual home owners if structures are lost.
Kim Long with the American Red Cross reminded community residents that the emergency shelter is located at the K-8 West Grand School building. The shelter will be available for occupancy until it’s determined that needs are met within the community.
Officials will be sharing further updates on their social media pages, on Inciweb, an interagency information management website, as well as a message board in Kremmling at 10th and Eagle. Updates will also be available via telephone message at (970) 725-3852.