UPDATE: Sylvan Fire now 50% contained | VailDaily.com

UPDATE: Sylvan Fire now 50% contained

Incident team assigned to fire to scale down personnel over the next few days

8 p.m. update: Ten days in, the firefighters working the Sylvan Fire south of Eagle are halfway to putting black line around the entire fire.

With containment continuing to increase in recent days, reaching 50% by Wednesday evening, the Rocky Mountain Type I Incident Team assigned to area plans to scale back firefighting personnel by the end of the week.

As of Wednesday , there were 425 personnel assigned to the wildfire, which is just under 6 square miles in size.

Abundant atmospheric moisture, coupled with an unsettled atmosphere, led to another round of scattered showers and a few isolated thunderstorms Wednesday afternoon and evening across the region, according to Wednesday night update.

Thursday is expected to be very similar to Wednesday, with scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms in the daytime forecast, along with seasonably cool temperatures and elevated humidity.

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Daytime highs will increase slightly on Friday, along with minimum humidity values decreasing.

The incident team’s fire behavior analyst reported that even heavy fuels in the area are starting to show a slight increase in moisture content.

Smoke and burned trees from the Sylvan Fire. After 10 days, 50% of the fire has been contained.
Special to the Daily

This has helped “subdue fire behavior,” which is now limited to “creeping and smoldering.”

Temperatures are expected to rise this weekend but the chance of rain and damp weather will remain, playing in the favor of further fire containment.

The two branches of the incident management team have been working tirelessly to establish more black lines around the fire’s perimeter.

One of the divisions assigned within these two branches has been almost entirely contained and firefighters are working to establish a line along the fire’s perimeter South of Sylvan Lake where terrain allows.

Firefighters have also completed a containment line along the Mount Thomas Trail ridgeline and down into the drainage basin.

On Wednesday, additional fire crews were sent to the northwestern part of the fire, which has been identified as a priority area for laying down more fire line.

While rain has been helpful the last few days, “rain isn’t going to put this fire out,” said public information officer Tracy LeClair on Tuesday. LeClair added that heavy fuels in the fire area are still quite dry and can still burn. And, LeClair said, the rain has actually made building fire line more difficult, because the fine fuels — grasses and other small plants — can’t be burned to help create fire lines.

With more warm weather in the extended forecast, LeClair said some areas may burn within the fire’s perimeter.

Another problem is the steep, densely wooded terrain in the fire perimeter. Those areas are difficult for firefighters to reach. In fact, LeClair said it’s going to require getting heavy equipment into some areas to clear the way for firefighting crews.

While firefighters continue to work, LeClair said fire and law enforcement officials keep hearing about hikers and backpackers in the closed-off areas of the forest.

“We really need people to stay out of there,” LeClair said. “Not just for hikers’ safety but also for the safety of firefighters.”

Sylvan Fire at a glance

Location: Eagle County, White River National Forest in Sylvan Lake State Park, 16 miles south of Eagle

Size: 3,792 acres

Fuel: Spruce-Fir

Cause: Suspected lightning, still under investigation

Date of Ignition: June 20 around 3:15 PM

Firefighting Personnel: 425

Containment: 50%

Though lightning is suspected as cause of the fire, the incident is still under investigation.

For the latest information about pre-evacuation or evacuation notices or fire restrictions on non-Federal lands, visit ECemergency.org. Officials are also reminding the public that wildfires are a No Drone Zone, and if you fly, they can’t.

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