ROUTT COUNTY, Colo. — The Middle Fork Fire burning in Routt County has grown to 20,194 acres and remains 1% contained as of Wednesday morning, according to fire officials.
Firefighters anticipate strong gusty winds in areas of fire-weakened trees, which continue to challenge firefighters. It's expected to be warm with partly cloudy skies and 18-23 mph with gusts to 35 mph in the afternoon. They're not expecting to see much wind relief overnight with winds still 13-18 mph and gusting to 28 mph.
Firefighters are focusing efforts in areas of the fire that are accessible and have a high probability of containment success, according to fire officials. They're working to complete containment lines along the south and southwest portions of the fire. They anticipate full containment by Oct. 31.
Pre-evacuations are in place in Jackson County for Aqua Fria and the Teal and Tiago Lake areas. There is also a pre-evacuation in place for Rainbow Lakes, but not the Rainbow Lakes Residential Community. This notification from Jackson County was primarily made for hunters, and ranchers with cattle in those areas. There are no evacuation or pre-evacuation orders in effect for Routt County.
The Middle Fork Fire started Sept. 6 in Routt National Forest and the Mount Zirkel Wilderness area about 10 miles north of Steamboat Springs. The cause is believed to be lightning.