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Middle Fork Fire

Unit Information

Routt National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
925 Weiss Dr
Steamboat Springs, CO 80487

USFS Shield

Incident Contact

Jesse McCarty
Phone: 970-439-4725
Hours: 0800-2000

Highlighted Activity

09/18/2020 Routt National Forest extends area closure for Middle Fork Fire
Order No. MBRTB-261-2020 Fire Closure FOREST ORDER USDA FOREST SERVICE ROUTT NATIONAL FOREST Hahns Peak/Bears Ears and Parks Ranger District FIRE CLOSURE Middle Fork Fire Area   Pursuant to 16...
Closure - 09/18/2020
9-30-2020 Middle Fork Fire updated mapImage options: [ Full Size ]

Middle Fork Fire Fact Sheet                                                                                                                                10/1/2020     
Acres: 8,056                                                                                                             Incident Commander: Sean Carey, Type 3 IMT
Fire Information phone line: 970-439-4725                                                   Inciweb:

Today’s Situation: The Middle Fork Fire continues to creep and smolder along the fire perimeter burning small pockets of available fuels. The  sunny and warm, drier weather continues. Some increased fire activity can be expected, especially when winds align with fuels and terrain throughout the day. This may drive smoke into the Steamboat Springs area. The Middle Fork Fire is zero percent contained as we are in its fourth week. Cold trailing, or ensuring the perimeter wont reignite via touching/digging out every live fire spot to determine containment of the fire line in the Wilderness is dangerous, thus the fire is likely to smolder until extinguished by snow accumulation. A portion of the eastern fire perimeter has not advanced for over two weeks. Full suppression tactics employed include using helicopters to keep fire growth in check and identifying indirect control features that offer a higher probability of success should fire advance toward communities or other values at risk. Visitors are reminded to avoid entering the area closure for their own safety and the safety of the firefighters (see Forest Closure below). Fire managers and the National Forest regularly evaluate the extent of the area closure and will adjust it to reduce impacts to public land users when they are confident it is safe to do so.

Weather: Sunny skies with highs between 62-72 degrees and relative humidity of 14 - 19%. Winds are out of the west to northwest at 5-10 mph, gusting to 15-20 mph this afternoon. Partially cloudy night skies with lows between 38-43 degrees and relative humidity of 55-60%.

Fire Behavior: Minimal to moderate with creeping, backing, smoldering, and isolated/group torching events.

Firefighting Resources: Approximately 95 personnel are assigned to the fire, including four helicopters (two Type 1 and two Type 3) and a fixed-wing air attack to help coordinate aerial operations.

Evacuations: There are no evacuation or pre-evacuation orders in effect. If the fire were to reach any pre-identified management action points, it would trigger Routt County Sheriff’s Office to initiate pre-evacuation orders through their reverse-911 system. To sign up for alerts, visit The county provides tips for wildfire preparedness, including planning for pets and livestock, on their website at

Forest Closure: Routt National Forest has issued an area closure. The closure boundary follows Mount Zirkel Wilderness boundary on east. On the south it follows Trail 1132 (Newcomb Creek), Trail 1101 (CDNST), the Wilderness boundary, and Trails 1100 (Swamp Park), 1140 (Saddle), 1140.1A (Saddle Cut-off), and 1171 (Red Dirt). On the west it follows the boundary between National Forest and private lands east of Big Creek from Red Dirt Trailhead to Trail 1176 (Roaring Fork) and continues north along the Wilderness boundary. On the north it follows the North Fork Drainage up to The Dome, east to Lost Ranger Peak, CDNST, and Trail 1131 (Lost Ranger). Trails 1131, 1132, 1166, and 1140 are open. Portion of Trails 1100 and 1171 are open where they follow the closure boundary, closed where they enter the closed area. No roads or trailheads are closed.

Closed trails include:

Appx. 10 miles of CDNST from 1132 to 1131

1130 Rainbow Lake

1179 Roxy Ann Lake

1099 Ditch Creek

1100 and 1100.4A Swamp Park (within Wilderness Area only)

1118 Elk Park

1168 Luna Lake

1168.1 Fish Hawk Lake

1170 Chilton

1182 Crags

1184 Big Creek Lake

1171 Red Dirt past Trail 1140 intersection

Fire Restrictions: Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in effect in Routt and Jackson counties, on all of the Routt National Forest, and across much of Northwest Colorado.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
Date of OriginSunday September 06th, 2020 approx. 12:00 PM
LocationRoutt National Forest, Mount Zirkel Wilderness Area, approximately 10 miles north of Steamboat Springs, Colorado.
Incident CommanderSean Carey
Coordinates40.628 latitude, -106.794 longitude

Current Situation

Total Personnel95
Size8,056 Acres
Fuels Involved

Mixed conifer

Significant Events

Moderate Fire behavior, with creeping, backing, smoldering, and torching, both group and single tree.


Planned Actions

Trail clearing, structure protection planning. Use helicopters to reduce fire spread as needed.

Projected Incident Activity

Sunny skies with warmer, drier conditions will promote increased fire activity over the coming days. Minimal to moderate fire behavior, especially when winds align with slope. Creeping, smoldering, single tree and group torching.


Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Sunny skies with highs between 62-72 degrees and relative humidity of 14 - 19%. Winds are out of the west to northwest at 5-10 mph, gusting to 15-20 mph this afternoon. Partially cloudy night skies with lows between 38-43 and relative humidity of 55-60%..