White River National Forest
U.S. Forest Service
900 Grand Ave.
Glenwood Springs, CO 81602
Lake Christine Fire
July 12, 2018
Fire Information Line: 970-510-0705
Follow Emergency Evacuation Information on: Facebook.com/EagleCountySO, Facebook.com/GarcoSheriff
Incident Commander: Mike Almas, Northern Rockies Incident Management Team
Size: 6,345 acres Containment: 49% Cause: Human-caused
Location: Approximately 1 mile northwest of Basalt, Colorado Structures destroyed: 3
Total Personnel: 339, including 6 hand crews, 15 engines, 3 water tenders, and 3helicopters
The Lake Christine Fire was first reported the evening of July 3rd. Extremely dry fuels, single digit relative humidity, and thunderstorms with strong outflow winds contributed to significant fire growth on the Fourth of July, which threatened the communities of El Jebel and Basalt, Colorado.
Wednesday, July 11, crews along the fire’s southern perimeter have begun the process of repairing and rehabilitating suppression line, to reduce the potential of erosion from those points. However, much of the burned area has exposed soils or hydrophobic soil conditions, which could lead to increased potential for erosion or run-off during rainfall events. Fire containment lines along the fire’s southeastern perimeter are still holding, aided by helicopter support. Firefighters and local power crews are still coordinating along the fire’s extreme northwestern corner, and the local power companies are working to reinstall powerlines via helicopter operations.
Late in the afternoon, the north-central fire perimeter became quite active, so helicopters were utilized to cool spot fires. A smoke plume and some flames were visible late into the night. Firefighters, including a structure protection task force in place day and night, continue to hold the fire along existing containment lines and protect property at risk.
The northern end of the fire is still uncontained and is located in steep, rugged terrain, so the fire will likely continue to spread in that direction for some time. Smoke will continue to be visible for some time, and if it occurs in the evening, flames or glow could also be visible. Crews are monitoring this activity, prepared to respond if necessary.
Resources Threatened: Private property, infrastructure (transmission lines), and structures in the Missouri Heights, Basalt, and El Jebel remain threatened. The fire is burning on federal and state lands, with natural resources threatened.
Evacuations and Closures: The Eagle County Sheriff’s Office downgraded all evacuation orders. So, now all El Jebel and Basalt area residents have returned to their homes. However, all residents will remain in pre-evacuation status and should remain vigilant- both with respect to potential fire spread and traffic congestion. Please refer to each jurisdiction’s Sheriff’s Office Facebook pages and emergency alert system for details.
Additionally, White River National Forest closures remain in effect, including the Basalt Mountain and Red Table Road areas; see the closures tab on Inciweb for more details.
Weather & Fuel Conditions: Meteorologists predict that isolated thunderstorms and showers may occur Thursday and Friday afternoons. Precipitation could help moderate fire behavior in the short term. However, erratic, outflow winds associated with thunderstorms could cause isolated flare-ups and potential fire spread where the fire is burning in heavy fuels.
Fire Restrictions: Stage 2 Fire Restrictions are in effect on private, state, and federal lands in Eagle, Pitkin, and Garfield counties, so all outdoor burning is prohibited. For information on fire restrictions, please visit www.coemergency.com/p/fire-bans-danger.html.
Temporary Flight Restrictions: Temporary flight restrictions (TFR) are in effect around the entire fire area; however, the Incident Management Team is working with the Aspen airport to coordinate commercial flight arrivals and departures when fire aviation operations are not critical. Remember, that temporary flight restrictions also apply to unmanned aircraft systems (drones); if you fly, we can’t!
Announcements: A public meeting will be held Saturday, July 14, at 6:30 p.m., at Basalt High School!
State Smoke Advisory Information: https://www.colorado.gov/airquality/wildfire.aspx