Challenging conditions for firefighters on Cache Creek Fire
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Fire officials heading the Cache Creek Fire burning on the western end of the county held a community meeting at the Grand Valley Fire Protection Station on Thursday to give the packed room an update on recent operations.
Three major challenges for firefighters this week have been thunderstorm activity with erratic outflow winds, fuel conditions due to drought and firefighting resource availability, according to a statement sent to local news organizations. Erratic outflow winds from thunderstorms have contributed to the fire spread north and west, the statement says.
Firefighters worked to solidify the northern fire line Thursday, but because of the topography and heavy timber on the south side, not as much effort was made on the south fire line, Jim Genung with the Forest Service said at the meeting.
“Our number one priority is public and firefighter safety…” he said. “We are looking at good line construction all along the north side.”
He said fuels burning within the containment sent embers outside the fire line, which sparked dry fuels and caused the containment to be broken earlier this week.
Fire containment went from 60 percent Sunday to 40 percent by Tuesday. As of Thursday, containment was steady at 40 percent.
He said as of Thursday there were around 100 personnel working on the fire.
Garfield County Emergency Manager Chris Bornholdt was the first to speak on Thursday and while he was clear that the fire was not in danger of forcing evacuations in Battlement Mesa, he did go over evacuation procedures for those concerned in the public.
The process includes a call to all land lines of the homes in danger, evacuation notifications through Garco 911 and other services, and firefighters also will go door to door if homes need to be evacuated.
Grand Valley Fire Protection District Chief David Blair explained that the federal and interagency resources have been using the fire station as a home base for operations, and while Grand Valley firefighters are not physically on the fire, they are assisting the resources as need be.