Colorado’s 2020 wildfire season is over … almost
Grizzly Creek Fire still remains at 91% containment
What a wildfire season it’s been, and according to officials, it’s still not technically over.
Coloradans breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday as news spread that the Cameron Peak Fire, the largest wildfire in Colorado history, reached 100% containment. The announcement came a day after the East Troublesome Fire, the second largest fire in Colorado history, also reached 100% containment.
Both those fires account for a significant portion of the more than 600,000 acres of land that burned in Colorado’s 2020 wildfire season. Six other now-contained fires helped contribute to that number, while one — the one closest to us in the Vail area — has yet to see the same sense of closure.
Officials are still keeping an eye on the Grizzly Creek Fire, which has remained at 91% containment since September.
“The Grizzly Creek Fire hasn’t been active in more than a month, but we are wanting more snow before we’ll call that last stretch contained,” said David Boyd, public affairs officer for the U.S. Forest Service. “The uncontained line is in the Grizzly Creek drainage in an area of thick timber and rugged terrain that isn’t safe or practical to get firefighters on the ground. That area hasn’t received much snow yet, and in that kind of area a lot of early snow can stay hung up in the trees.”
In August, Mike Ferris, an incident command public information officer took, Vail Daily journalists into the then-closed Glenwood Canyon for an up-close look at what was happening in the area. Ferris told reporters that the canyon’s complex topography presents a unique challenge to firefighters that “increases their risk and exposure.”
“The probability of success is lessened because of the increased risk, so we have to choose our actions and take a stand very carefully,” Ferris said.
The weather forecast for Glenwood Springs shows little hope for precipitation in days to come, which means fire crews are expecting the containment rate to stay where it is until our snow dances finally pay off.