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Williams Fork Fire

Unit Information

Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland
U.S. Forest Service
2150 Centre Avenue Building E
Fort Collins, CO 80526

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Incident Contacts

Public Infromation Line
Phone: 970-445-2910
Hours: 8-4:30 M-F

Public Information Line
Phone: 970-445-2910
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Media Line
Phone: 970-445-4941
Hours: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Highlighted Activity

09/26/2020 Due to extreme fire behavior, closure area has been expanded
Due to extreme fire behavior on the Williams Fork Fire forest closure order has been expanded. Anyone currently in the Keyser Creek, Crooked Creek and St. Louis Creek area should prepare to leave....
News - 09/26/2020
map showing fire and closure areaImage options: [ Full Size ]

The Williams Fork Fire, seven miles southwest of Fraser, Colorado, started near the Henderson Mill on August 14th and quickly grew due to high winds, steep slopes, and dense fuels.

Working with long term fire behavior analysts, foresters and other natural resource specialists, Williams Fork firefighters successfully contained the southwest flank along County Roads 3 and 30, and the Williams Fork River, preventing damage to the Henderson Mill. On the north and east flanks, firefighters improved roads and other natural features to create defensive lines to protect the communities of Fraser, Tabernash, and Winter Park. 

Recent cool temperatures and snow have resulted in minimal fire behavior, and have reduced the chance for fire growth. However, as temperatures fluctuate, the public should expect to see smoke from within the fire area as pockets of fuel continue to burn. The fire is expected to burn until sustained wetting rain or snow extinguishes it.

There are no evacuation orders or pre-evacuation notices in effect as of September 9, 2020. However, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office encourages all residents to be prepared for future emergencies, by signing up to receive emergency notifications for CodeRed alerts.

The area immediately surrounding the fire remains under a closure order. Williams Fork Fire Closure Order

Hunting impacts

The fire is burning within Game Management Unit 28. Hunters holding licenses in game management units impacted by the fire may be able to request a refund and reinstatement of preference points used to draw the license. For updated hunting from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, visit

The Fire is under investigation

Trained fire investigators have determined that the Williams Fork Fire started by human activity, but the specific cause is not yet known. 

If the public has any information, images or video of the area that may be helpful to the investigation, please email them to  Information can also be shared by calling 307-745-2392, selecting option 5, and leaving a name and phone number so law enforcement can return the call.

Investigating wildland fires is a legal process that requires the fire cause to remain confidential until the process is complete.  

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginFriday August 14th, 2020 approx. 11:43 AM
Location9.5 miles SW of Fraser, CO
Incident CommanderEd Leblanc ICT3/Chad Buser ICT3(T)
Incident DescriptionWildfire
Coordinates39.851 latitude, -106.065 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel66
Size12,898 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained14%
Fuels Involved

Timber (Litter and Understory)

Primary driver of fire behavior is the lodgepole-spruce-fir stands consisting of heavy mortality. These

stands have abundant lofted dead fuels.

Significant Events

Active, Backing, Spotting, Single tree torching


Planned Actions

North flank of fire establish indirect fireline, secondary line and contingency plans. Utilize aircraft to lessen fire behavior to support crews. Engine and crews performing point protection and direct line on the southeast corner of the fire.

Projected Incident Activity

12 hours:

Clouds lingered behind a cold front through early afternoon. Temperatures 10 to 20 degrees

cooler than Saturday. Gusty winds continued with northwest winds gusting to 25 to 35 mph at times. Minimum humidity in the wake of the front rose slightly to 25 to 35%.

24 hours: Skies will clear overnight with winds gradually decreasing. Clear skies, dry air and light winds will allow strong radiational cooling. Lows will range from mid teens in cold spots to around 30

in the thermal belt. Moderate to poor humidity recovery overnight with humidity of 40 to 50%.

48 hours: High pressure will build over the region with sunny skies with near normal temperatures Monday climbing above normal Tuesday. Humidity of 15 to 25% during the day. Northwest winds 10 to 15 mph will gust around 20 mph in the afternoon.

72 hours: Temperatures 10 to 20 degrees above normal with afternoon humidity dropping to 10 to 20%. Breezy northwest winds continue with gusts around 20 mph in the afternoon.

Anticipated after 72 hours:

Sunny with temperatures 10 to 15 degrees above normal and humidity 10 to 20%. There is potential for single digit humidity at times. Northwest winds will start to increase with gusts 20 to 25 mph in the afternoon. Extreme drought

continues with no relief anticipated for at least the next week.


Due to steep rugged terrain and dead and dying trees caused by Bark Beetle, indirect fire line tactics are being utilized. Natural barriers such as avalanche chutes, rock screes, high elevation alpine tundra ridges, previous fuel treatment areas, recent burn scars, and wet drainages have been identified to slow the fires' spread. Bottle Pass, Saint Louis Pass, Fraser Experimental Forest (FEF) Headquarters and the Denver Water buildings located in the Bobtail drainage have been identified as areas of point zone protection. Fuels mitigation and placement of water handling equipment have been completed around the structures in both the FEF Headquarters.

Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Unseasonably warm, dry and windy conditions expected to persist through the next week, elevating fire growth potential.