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Grizzly Creek Fire at 61% containment as Alaska team takes over duties

NWS forecasting heavy rainfall over burn area, which may lead to flash flooding and debris flows
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Posted at 10:31 AM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 17:48:03-04

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — A firefighting crew from Alaska took charge of the Grizzly Creek Fire on Wednesday morning, officials said.

The fire in Glenwood Canyon was at 32,060 acres and 61% containment.

The Great Basin Team 1 handed off authority of the fire to the Alaska Type 1 Incident Management Team as 6 a.m. Wednesday. The Great Basin team had managed the fire for the last two weeks.

Meteorologists from the National Weather Service on Wednesday afternoon were forecasting heavy rain fall over the burn area which may lead to flash flooding and debris flows, according to a Flash Flood Watch posted on the agency's website. The watch is in effect until 6 p.m.

The Colorado Department of Transportation tweeted residents in the area should be prepared for a potential closure should I-70 be impacted by weather.

Officials said Tuesday was a successful day battling the fire, as crews increased containment and containment lines held, despite strong winds and passing thunderstorms. Officials were expecting similar weather conditions on Wednesday.

Interstate 70 remained open for the time being, and Cottonwood Pass Road reopened to passenger traffic Monday as well. But drivers are still being urged to be extremely cautious driving from Gypsum to Glenwood Springs through the canyon, with fire crews still in the area and the potential for flare ups and mudslides when it rains.

The cause of the Grizzly Creek Fire, which started Aug. 10, remains under investigation.

The National Forest Foundation on Tuesday announced that the White River National Forest Restoration Fund was accepting donations that will go toward restoration work on the forest that was burned by the fire.

The Forest Service says donations will go toward forest restoration and infrastructure repairs within the forest, which are expected to begin next year once the fire is extinguished and officials have determined restoration priorities.

The Grizzly Creek Fire is one of four major fires, and several smaller ones, currently burning in Colorado. Click here for more Denver7 coverage of the wildfires.