Firefighters Hope Weather Will Douse Church's Park Fire

Firefighters Building More Containment Lines

A 530-acre wildfire burning near Fraser is still considered 30 percent contained.

Firefighters are building more containment lines around the Church's Park Fire as helicopters continue to drop water on the fire. Officials said the interior of the fire is not safe for firefighters because of the dead trees.

A recorded media briefing said smoke from the fire will continue to be seen until weather can douse the fire.

The fire, less than a square mile, is burning on public land and is about two miles away from homes. Residents were told to be prepared to leave after the fire was first reported Sunday, but no evacuations have been needed.

Authorities said the fire was human-caused.

"Some of that is just based on the fact that it started there off of County Road 50, and then we had some information that we got from a passerby that was coming down that road at the time," said Grand County Sheriff Rod Johnson.

County Road 50 is also known as Church Park Road.

The fire is burning in an area filled with green pines and dead, gray-colored trees that have been killed by pine beetles.

"Because of the beetle kill, there’s a whole lot of dead trees,” said Austin Deganhart, one of the first people to report the fire Sunday afternoon. "All of the lodgepole pines stand anywhere from 20 to 40, 50 feet tall and they’re totally dry and dead. That’s what makes up the majority of our forest up here."

Fire officials said the dead trees post a great danger because the may fall on firefighters.

"There is a significant amount of pine beetle killed trees in the fire area. The greatest danger from the trees is not in terms of fire behavior, but hazards and risks that are posed to our firefighters on the ground," said Geoff Bell, the fire’s incident commander.

The U.S. Forest Service has command of the fire. The Kremmling, Hot Sulphur Springs, Granby, Grand Lake and East Grand Fire Departments are assisting. Four helicopters, including two heavies, one medium, and one light, and three heavy air tankers are helping ground crews.

Get updates on the fire on the Grand County emergency information website.