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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

Maribeth Pecotte
Phone: 970-724-3027
Hours: M-F, 8-5

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
The map shows the Middle Fork Fire perimeter as a red polygon. A black line describes the closure area boundary.Image options: [ Full Size ]

Middle Fork Fire Fact Sheet                                                                                                                                          9/26/2020       
7,499                                                                                                             Incident Commander: Sean Carey, Type 3 IMT
Fire Information phone line: 970-724-3027                                              Inciweb:

Today’s Situation: The fire is consuming available fuels on the ridge north of South Fork drainage along the southern perimeter. To the north, it is working its way toward Roaring Fork Creek and Big Creek. Along the southeast perimeter, the fire is moving through heavy timber stands north of Horse Thief Peak, while it continues to hold on the east and northeast, and growth to the northwest and southwest has slowed in the past few days. Continued windy conditions today will promote short crown runs and group torching events that will likely produce a noticeable smoke column. Ground crews are directing water drops from helicopters where flareups occur to help limit rate of spread. Persistent drought has created extremely dry fuels that are receptive to burning. An area closure remains in effect, and visitors are reminded to avoid the area for their own safety and to allow firefighters to focus on fire operations, rather than visitor management (see Forest Closure below).

Weather: Mostly sunny this morning turning partly cloudy this afternoon. Highs will be in the upper 60s with relative humidity of 19 - 24%. West winds 10 - 15 mph, gusting to 25 mph.

Fire Behavior: Continued strong winds will promote single tree and group tree torching and small crown run events. Cooler temperatures and higher humidity could help moderate this behavior. While the objective for this fire is full suppression, the Incident Management Team expects it will be active until cooler, wetter weather sets in.

Firefighting Resources: Approximately 89 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 Personnel89
Size7,499 Acres
Fuels Involved

Mixed conifer

Significant Events

Moderate Fire behavior, with creeping, ground runs, smoldering, and torching, both group and single tree. Gusty winds this afternoon may increase fire activity.


Planned Actions

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

Projected Incident Activity

Moderate fire behavior, especially when winds align with slope. Flanking, backing toward the northwest and south.


Current Weather

Weather Concerns

Mostly sunny with highs in the upper 60s. Relative humidity 19-24%. Southwest winds 10 - 15 mph, gusting to 25 mph in the afternoon.