Forest Service to consider reopening some areas surrounding Sylvan Fire this week
Blaze is now at 65% containment, $6.4M in cost
The Sylvan Fire remains at 65% containment as of Sunday, smoldering in an area of 3,792 acres – just under 6 square miles – located near Sylvan Lake State Park south of the town of Eagle.
At the height of the massive effort to stop the fire, 425 personnel were in Eagle with a Type I management team which had access to a large pool of resources. As of Sunday, the cost on the blaze has totaled $6,365,000.
On Saturday, a Type III team had assumed management of the Sylvan Fire. On Sunday, 132 personnel remained. Those crews still have access to two light helicopters, said David Boyd with the U.S. Forest Service, and on Sunday, one of those helicopters took a few flights over a portion of the smoldering southeastern flank of the fire.
“There was one area of smoke before they flew it, and they took care of that, on the eastern edge, and then when they flew it a little bit later in the afternoon they weren’t seeing any smokes,” Boyd said. “But we’re still coming out of the really wet period, so we’re expecting that we will see some as it continues to warm and dry. Some areas will probably start smoking again, so we’re keeping our eyes on that.”
Boyd said in the coming days, the Forest Service will begin looking at reopening a portion of the nearby White River National Forest which has been closed as a result of the Sylvan Fire.
“We’re looking at where we can shrink that down, where it’s still safe for firefighters and the public, but people can get out and visit the area,” Boyd said. “We’ll still have some level of closure, but we just have to see where it will be based. If there’s still a lot of firefighter activity, we’ll probably keep those areas closed. So we’re looking at that now.”
Closed areas include the Hardscrabble trail system and Forest Service Roads 400 (Eagle-Thomasville), 412, 413, 416 and 436, as well as areas north of Red Table Mountain Trail. South of Red Table Mountain, the Coyote Park and Crooked Creek Park areas are closed.
For the latest in closure information visit FS.USDA.gov/whiteriver.
Sunday’s latest price tag on the blaze, at $6.4 million, is up from $4.9 million on Friday, said Michelle Kelly, a public information officer with the Rocky Mountain Fire District. Kelly said the bill will be footed by U.S. Forest Service funds, since the fire is burning in the White River National Forest.
That covers everything from the money paid to personnel on the ground to those in the air, as well as equipment costs, food costs, lodging costs, gas and anything else you can think of when it comes to such a large-scale effort.
“Everything is accounted for,” Kelly said. “The finance section tracks every order number and everything that’s ordered is paid for, every person that’s working, the food we eat, the lodging.”
Nate Peterson contributed reporting