PITKIN COUNTY — As most wildfires around the state start to diminish in size, the Lake Christine Fire is doing just the opposite.
On Thursday, the fire was measured at about 7,700 acres with 59 percent of it contained by firefighters. By Sunday evening, the fire had grown to 11,459 acres and was measured at 32 percent contained.
This weekend, the Lake Christine Fire, which is near Basalt, moved into an area where beetles had killed many trees, providing fuel for the fire. The fire started to push north, creating new spot fires ahead of the main blaze, according to White River National Forest U.S. Forest Service.
The fire started to move toward Cattle Creek, transitioning from burning thick timber fuels to aspen and oak trees. Firefighters used single-engine air tankers to place eight load of fire retardant around cabins in these areas. They also placed sprinklers and trimmed vegetation to protect structures in the area.
A pre-evacuation notice was put in place Thursday evening for residents of Missouri Heights, Cedar Drive, Toner Creek, Seven Castles and Taylor Road due to the increased fire on the eastern flank of the blaze, according to Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies said two people shooting tracer rounds near the town of Basalt started the fire, which burned at least three homes to the ground. Allison Marcus, 22, and Richard Miller, 23, both from El Jebel, were arrested and charged with fourth-degree arson and firing woods or prairie. Both charges are felonies.