Challenges with aerial mapping result in delayed updates from Cache Creek Fire near Rifle | VailDaily.com

Challenges with aerial mapping result in delayed updates from Cache Creek Fire near Rifle

Alex Zorn
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

RIFLE — Strong winds and downhill fuels caused the Cache Creek fire southwest of Rifle to jump to 1,342 acres Wednesday night, Aug. 1, as the fire personnel rose from 50 over the weekend to more than 250 midweek.

As of 10 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, the fire acreage had stayed the same, though containment remained at 0 percent. Cache Creek fire public information officer Brian Scott said Wednesday that challenges with aerial mapping have resulted in delayed updates.

"It's been a challenge to get an aircraft to fly over the fire and map it," he said.

The fire, burning 8 miles southwest of Rifle, forced the evacuation of four cabins along Battlement Creek Reservoir Road on Tuesday, July 31, as the Type 2 Rocky Mountain Blue Team was brought in to take over fire-management efforts.

Garfield county road 302 closed

The upper portion of Garfield County Road 302 was also closed to the public. Scott said Wednesday that crews were working to protect those structures.

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"There is a road closure of County Road 302, approximately 3 ½ miles in, just above the Y at the last residence," according to a Garfield County Sheriff's Office press release sent out Tuesday morning. "The public is encouraged to stay clear of this area to allow fire fighting operations to proceed."

According to Jay Esperance, incident commander, "During the initial response to the Cache Creek fire, the local team made public and firefighter safety their top priority. Our team will continue that objective as the rough terrain and limited access will make fighting this fire a challenge."

The fire started late Saturday evening, July 28, after a series of thunder and lightning storms moved through western Garfield County. However, the cause of the fire has not yet been determined.

The Rocky Mountain Blue Team is a Type 2 incident management team available year-round for all-risk assignment, according to the Rocky Mountain Incident Management Blue Team website. The team replaced the local Type 3 organization that was working on the fire Sunday and Monday, according to a Tuesday morning update from the White River National Forest.

The fire continues to burn in steep, rugged terrain, with a substantial amount of dead and downed timber within the fire perimeter, states the Rocky Mountain Blue Team press release.

In addition to the two Type 1 large helicopters, a Type 2 medium helicopter will also be available to support ground resources in this effort, according to the press release.

The Rifle Ranger District of the White River National Forest has implemented an emergency area closure for the fire. The closure can be found on the Forest Service website at goo.gl/uLCtqA.

Cache Creek Fire

Size: 1,342 acres

Containment: 0 percent

Location: 8 miles southwest of Rifle

Firefighters: 251

Cause: Unknown

Source: InciWeb Incident Information System, as of 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 2