High winds spur fire to 1,000 acres in Rio Blanco County | VailDaily.com

High winds spur fire to 1,000 acres in Rio Blanco County

Fueled by fierce winds, a fire surged to 1,000 acres Friday afternoon roughly 26 miles southwest of Meeker.

“A thousand acres is our best estimate,” said David Boyd, public affairs specialist for the Bureau of Land Management. “We’ll fly it tonight with aircraft and get a better estimate.”

The Hunt Fire was started Thursday night by a lightning strike on BLM-managed lands, which includes Hunter Creek, Willow Creek, and Big Jimmy Gulch, according to a news release from the BLM.

The Northwest Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit is managing the fire response. Authorities also reconnoitered the area to warn hunters in the area for archery season of the danger.

Boyd said the fire is burning in thick, heavy brush and is not currently threatening any structures — thanks in large part to the work by fire crews to protect nearby buildings earlier Friday.

The vegetation makes for tough firefighting conditions, Boyd said, but allowing it to burn can help mitigate future fire risk.

“It’s doing good work out there, opening up that forest, which will help wildlife,” he said. “That also gives us some places we can better defend (during future fires).”

The fire is almost certain to remain active for at least the next couple days, Boyd said.

“I think if we get some cloudy afternoons and that kind of thing, that’ll diminish the fire behavior,” he said.

Go to the Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Facebook Page for the most up-to-date information about the Hunt Fire.