Sunrise Fire Update for August 12, 2017
Yesterday: Burnout operations continued on the north side of Quartz Creek drainage to reduce fuel loading around structures. Fire managers opted to extend some of the aerial ignition operations to the north along the ridges between Cougar Gulch and Trout Creek. This ignition follows our strategy to create a low intensity, backing fire along ridges to consume fuels prior to any head fire that may come down canyon that would likely threaten structures. This operation was very visible from the I-90 corridor near Superior. The northern edge of the main fire now extends into the mouth of Trout Creek drainage.
Today: Burnout operations continue on the north side of the Quartz Creek, Cougar and Trout Creek drainages bringing fire downslope. Fire managers will continue to monitor the progress of the previous day’s aerial and hand ignition operations to determine effectiveness and further needs. Engine crews will patrol for new spot fires. Firefighters continue mop-up activities to secure fire perimeter around homes in Sunrise, Quartz Flats, Cougar Flats and Verde Creek areas. Helicopter operations will continue to support ground-based efforts in the overall containment of the fire. A Public Meeting will be held tonight at 7:00 pm at the Lozeau Lodge.
Objectives and Strategy: Firefighter and public safety is the first priority for suppression activities. Over the next few days firefighters will work to control overall fire spread of the fire to the north by using indirect fire lines and strategically introducing fire to unburned areas; lessening the overall likelihood for high-intensity and fast-moving fire. This tactic will be used in a limited and deliberate fashion, when conditions are favorable. This will allow the fire to grow naturally in areas where values, such as life and property, are not threatened and/or fire is spreading in a manner that helps reach containment goals.
Weather: A Red Flag Warning takes effect at 1:00 due to higher temperatures and a low relative humidity dropping to near 10%. Increased instability will lead to a slight chance of thunderstorms, but no precipitation is expected. Downcanyon/downslope winds in the AM will give way to upslope winds of 7 mph in the afternoon.
Evacuations: Cougar Gulch,Quartz Creek and Verde Creek are currently in Stage III evacuation. Trout Creek residents just north of the pellet mill along the Diamond Match Road will also move to Stage III at 7:00 AM. Sunrise and Quartz Flat have been lowered to Stage II evacuation.
Closures: The area closure around the Sunrise Fire now includes Trout Creek Road (#250). Road blocks are in place near the Pellet Mill (lower Trout Creek) and at the upper Trout Creek Road intersection with Road #7813 near the Divide. Travelers from Cedar Creek should use Hoodoo Pass Road (#388) which takes you through Freezeout Pass Road (#3881/7813), and then back on to #250 to the SW. Travelers should also be advised to use high clearance vehicles and no trailers.