No smoke from Sylvan Fire as containment reaches 68%
Fire is second-largest in Rocky Mountain region and the most expensive
EAGLE — The Monday evening update on the Sylvan Fire south of Eagle: More rain, more containment and no smoke.
The only activity on the wildfire as it enters its third week is smoldering activity, said Kelsha Anderson, a public information officer with the White River National Forest.
That is, unless you count the large rainbow that hung over the fire area as rain fell Monday afternoon.
“They haven’t seen any smoke today,” Anderson said around 7 p.m. Monday. “They’ve mostly been focused on the line, and it looks like we’ll be releasing the Hotshot crew tomorrow and a few other resources that’ll be leaving over the next few days.”
The fire remains at 3,792 acres — nearly 6 square miles — and containment is at 68%. Resources currently assigned to the fire include 121 total personnel, a light helicopter, two Type 6 fire engines, two suppression modules, and one Hotshot crew.
While the Hotshot crew is set to ship out Tuesday, Anderson said one more module of firefighters will likely cycle in as other personnel cycles out.
Firefighters continued to hold, improve and monitor containment lines Monday, and more scatted rain fell on the fire area. Logging equipment made progress assisting with containment line construction southeast of Sylvan Lake.
The Sylvan Fire is the second-largest fire in the Rocky Mountain region and the most expensive. The cost of the fire is $6.6 million as of Monday. The Muddy Slide Fire in Routt County has burned 4,093 acres, with a cost of $5.4 million. The Oil Springs Fire, burning 20 miles south of Rangely in Rio Blanco County, has burned 12,613 acres and the firefighting effort has cost $4.9 million.
At the height of the massive effort to stop the Sylvan Fire, 425 personnel were in Eagle with a Type I management team, which had access to a large pool of resources. On Saturday, a Type III team had assumed management of the Sylvan Fire.
David Boyd, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service, said in the coming days officials 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.
John LaConte contributed reporting