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East Troublesome 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 Contact

Incident Information
Phone: 970-887-4100
Hours: M-F 8am to 430pm

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The East Troublesome Fire was reported on the afternoon of October 14. The origination point was northeast of Kremmling in Grand County, Colo. on the Arapaho National Forest. The cause is still under investigation. Within three days, high winds and low humidity allowed the fire to spread to over 10,000 acres. The direction of fire spread threatened State Highway 125 and forced the closure of the road and mandatory evacuation of approximately 90 homes by October 17.

Between Oct. 20-23, the fire spread increased dramatically with 24-hour increases of around 18,000 to 87,000 acres during the four-day run. The peak fire spread of 87,093 acres occurred between late afternoon on Oct. 21 and the early afternoon of Oct. 22. The size of the fire exploded from 18,550 acres to 187,964 acres during this period. The fire crossed Highway 125 on the afternoon of Oct. 21 and spread eastward into the Rocky Mountain National Park on Oct. 22, crossing the Continental Divide and reaching the western edge of Estes Park on Oct. 23.

The fire was fueled by wide-spread drought, numerous dead and down beetle-killed trees, red flag weather conditions created by high winds and dry conditions, and poor humidity recovery overnight. The combination of these factors led to unprecedented, wind-driven, active fire behavior with rapid spread during the overnight hours. During this period the area north of US Highway 40 from near Granby and extending eastward to Grand Lake and Estes Park had over 7,000 structures threatened, and a population of over 35,000 placed under a mandatory evacuation.

A winter storm from Saturday, Oct. 24 through the morning of Oct. 26 brought very cold temperatures, precipitation in the form of snow and lighter winds, resulting in a dramatic drop in fire behavior with smoldering and reduced fire spread on both sides of the Continental Divide. Over this 3-day period, fire growth fell to a total of around 4,500 acres for a total of 192,457 acres. From that point forward, fire activity remained minimal with little change in area and a final total acreage of 193,812. While the fire remains at 60% containment, further growth is not anticipated in either the Grand Zone or Thomspon Zone near Estes Park. Impacted areas included the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests, Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Rocky Mountain National Park, and private lands. A preliminary estimate of 366 residences and 214 outbuildings and commercial structures were destroyed or damaged. Portions of these areas remain closed for public safety due to snag trees and other hazards.

While we are still taking stock of impacts to the Arapaho National Forest, the fire burned through popular recreation areas that are an important part of the local economy, including the Sulphur Ranger District’s snowmobiling and OHV trail system and the Arapaho National Recreation Area’s Willow Creek Reservoir and campground.

Basic Information

Current as of
Incident TypeWildfire
CauseUnder Investigation
Date of OriginWednesday October 14th, 2020 approx. 04:00 PM
Location15 miles NNE of Kremmling, CO
Incident CommanderTodd Like ICT4
Coordinates40.201 latitude, -106.234 longitude

Current Situation

Size193,812 Acres
Percent of Perimeter Contained72%
Estimated Containment DateMonday November 30th, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved

Grass, brush and timber. 60-80% bug kill in the pine.

Significant Events

Minimal fire behavior with smoldering.


Planned Actions

Resources will engage in operational missions, depending on snow load and access.

Projected Incident Activity

Smoldering continues. No growth expected.


Both zones (Thompson and Grand) are now being managed by IC Todd Like. Fire growth is not anticipated in either zone.