4 Eagle Fire near Wolcott at 75% containment; Red Flag Warning in effect | VailDaily.com

4 Eagle Fire near Wolcott at 75% containment; Red Flag Warning in effect

A single engine air tanker makes a drop Friday over the Alkali Creek Fire north of Wolcott

Crews were able to get much of the 121-acre 4 Eagle Fire contained within a day of it popping up on Friday, and by Saturday afternoon containment was at 75% and air support was no longer necessary.

“With 75 percent containment, I think that sounds like a pretty good shot that we might not need to use that air support, but with the strong winds I couldn’t be so sure about that,” said Maribeth Pecotte, a public affairs specialist with the Bureau of Land Management. “Two Forest Service engines are assigned to work the fire today and will order air support if it becomes needed.”

The fire ignited on a cabin at the privately owned 4 Eagle Ranch on Friday before spilling over onto BLM public lands. It was called the Alkali Creek Fire on Friday and is now being called the 4 Eagle Fire.

“When you got one cabin on fire on a property that has multiple cabins and buildings, there’s certainly a high probability that it can spread to some others, so lots of different resources responded very quickly,” Pecotte said. “They saw the need for the air support and they called it in and were able to get it.”

Multiple agencies quickly responded with fire engines, also calling in for air support. Two Single Engine Air Tankers (SEAT) and one Large Air Tanker (LAT) laid down retardant lines, while two helicopters (one Type 1 and one Type 3) dropped water to cool the heat, Pecotte said.

“They want to hit it hard with those air resources to prevent it from getting big, especially with COVID-19, the more fires, the longer they go on, the more exposure there is, and potential for spread,” Pecotte said.

The fire is burning on the east side of U.S. Highway 131, north of Wolcott, in mostly grass and sage brush.

“It’s fine fuels that burn quickly but tend to go out pretty quickly,” Pecotte said. “So they don’t burn quite as long as the heavier timber kind of fuels … Because of the lighter fuels, I think with the amount of containment they got on it yesterday, maybe there’s a better chance that they will actually be able to hold it and it won’t continue to advance, but I can’t really be certain to predict, especially with red flag warnings in effect.”

Crew were able to slow the fire’s advance considerably on Friday, and fire activity calmed overnight with cooler temperatures and increased humidity.

With gusts of 40 mph possible, and relative humidity between 10% and 15%, the Red Flag Warning will remain in effect until 8 p.m. on Saturday.

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