Hayden Pass Fire

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Hayden Pass Fire

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Approximate Location

38.292 latitude, -105.833 longitude

Incident Overview

Smoke colun rises high over the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness from the Hayden Pass Fire

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On July 12th, 2016, the local Type 3 organization transferred command of the Hayden Pass Fire to the Rocky Mountain Type 2 Blue Team (IMT) at 8:00 PM. Incident Commander Jay Esperance said, “We will be building on the successes of the local firefighters who have done on outstanding job with the limited resources they have.”

July 12-13: Dozers began to construct indirect line from Hayden Creek toward Big Cottonwood drainage. A hotshot crew began direct line from Big Cottonwood drainage working toward Hayden Creek and the dozer line. Initial aerial resources were assigned to the fire and fire personnel also scouted several areas, such as the Mosher drainage to the Duckett Fire scar of 2011. Firefighters: 247 on the 12th and ramping up to 442 on the 13th

July 14: The fire’s eastern flank changed behavior, as shifting winds became westerly. Mosher Creek became an area of focus and firefighters continued residence protection work and expanded the cleared bulldozer lines. Newly arrived firefighters were assigned to the Duckett area to build indirect line to slow the fire’s growth southward. Firefighters: 625; Containment: 0%

July 15: Extensive structural protection preparation with sprinklers and air support activity to support hand crews. Numerous crews contributed to the initial success of creating a solid hand line from the fire’s northeastern side all the way around to the southeastern corner. The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office escorted some evacuated residents briefly back to their homes. Firefighters: 768; Containment: 5%

July 16: The Red Flag warning slowed firefighting operations. Overnight, a burn-out operation along Hayden Creek road treated 30-40 acres to hinder fire growth north of the road. The structural protection group completed its assessments and protection activities. Firefighters: 816; Containment: 20%

July 17-19: The structural protection group completed its assessments and protection activities. On July 17th, three hot shot crews, supported by three engines and two dozers, began to work for several days at the 10,000-foot elevation between Balman Reservoir and Rainbow Lake. A chipper was taken to Hayden Creek pass to shred trees cut down during suppression activities. Crews on the eastern and southeastern flanks focused on mop-up and looking for hot spots along containment lines. Each day, there was reduced burning within the containment lines around the entire fire except for the western wilderness side, which stayed in monitoring status throughout.

July 20-21: Firefighters began extensive back-hauling of equipment away from the fire, back to staging points for transport back to home locations. Residents were advised in the fire updates to expect to see smoke for several weeks as the fire burned in the wilderness. On the 20th, a crew of fisheries personnel from CO Dept. of Parks and Wildlife conducted a cutthroat trout removal operation, netting over 200 fish for temporary caretaking at a local hatchery until the Hayden Creek waters are clear of soot and debris. Fire managers announced that over 1 million gallons of water were dispensed onto the fire by air support. Rehabilitation began across the entire fire zone.

July 22-23: The Rocky Mountain Blue Team transferred command of the Hayden Pass Fire to a Type 3 incident management team lead by Robert Smith at 6:00 p.m. on 7/23. With this transfer, the base camp and incident command post relocated to Westcliffe. Approximately 155 fire personnel moved to the Westcliffe base. One large and one small helicopter remain at the Salida Airport to support Hayden Pass Fire operations and to aid in suppressing any new fire starts in the area. Air and ground observers continue to monitor the leading upper edges of the fire as it burns into the headwaters of Big Cottonwood Creek in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.

July 24 to August 2: The Hayden Pass Fire continues under the management of the Type 3 Incident Command Team, Incident Commander Jason Gibb. In the latter part of July into August, weather conditions in the area changed to bring more moisture through periodic thunderstorms and rain. Parts of the fire area were affected, resulting in significant decrease in active fire behavior. The north, northeast, and south firelines were secured and mopup operations proceeded with very good success. The western/southwestern portion of the fire burned into the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness where higher altitude areas with a lot of rock outcrops and very little fuels, and the addition of much needed moisture, have slowed the fire's progression in the wilerness. Crews have been successful in continuing to mop up hot spots in green areas inside the fire perimeter and outside the Wilderness. The containment of the fire stands at 60% and that perimeter is secure. Fire personnel have been reduced to under 100. Work now has been focused primarily on eliminating the remaining smokes well inside of the firelines and outside the Wilderness, on rehabilitating the impacts of the lines put in by hand and dozer work as part of the fire suppression efforts, and on eliminating hazards along trails for future use.

Evacuation Timeline: On July 11, County Road 40 went under a mandatory immediate evacuation. Mandatory evacuations occurred July 12 for people on County Rd. 6, south of County Road 45. Approximately 140 total residences were evacuated. On July 14, Fremont County Rd 1A south from Hwy 50 to Hwy 69 was closed in both directions for all vehicle and foot traffic (due to pedestrians, not fire danger). Mandatory evacuations were rescinded at 0800, July 19, for everyone except residents of County Rd. 6, who were allowed re-entry at 0800 on July 21.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginFriday July 08th, 2016 approx. 06:00 PM
Location20 miles SE of Salida, CO
Incident CommanderJason Gibb

Current Situation

Total Personnel49
Size16,754 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained60%
Fuels Involved

Timber (Grass and Understory)

Beetle Kill

Chaparral (6 feet), old growth oak brush, pinon Juniper, Ponderosa Pine

Significant Events

Minimal creeping and smoldering. Fire actively continues in the Cottonwood drainage. Small runs with group torching in wilderness, burning interior pockets of green. Minimal growth.


Planned Actions

Continue mop up and supression repair in all divisions. Continue monitoring fire progression in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness.

Projected Incident Activity

12 hours-72 hours: Minimal fire spread will continue in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. Threats to critical T&E species (Green Back Cutthroat Trout)


Management of the incident transitioned at 1800 on 7-30-16 from Smith ICT3 to Gibb ICT3

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Current weather forecast is for an increase in monsoon moisture for the next week.This will moderate fire behavior in Cottonwood Creek. Depending on moisture received, runoff may be an issue in the burned area. We will monitor the situation. Current temp is 73 degrees, RH 31% Winds 5 mph with gusts to 14 mph. Mostly cloudy with intermittent light showers.

Unit Information

USFS Shield
Pike and San Isabel National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
Pueblo, CO 81008

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