The Williams Fork Fire burning in Grand County was 12,320 acres and 25% contained as of Thursday as officials initiated a Burn Area Emergency Response team to start working on an assessment of the areas burned in the fire.
Fire officials said that the fire continues to burn within its perimeter, with smoke being most visible on Keyser Ridge and the creeks below Jones Pass. Helicopter crews continue to work in those areas and plan to do so into the weekend.
Incident Commander Ed Leblanc of the Type 3 Incident Management Team said warm and windy weather will continue to increase fire behavior in coming days and said people living, camping, and doing other outdoor activities in the area should be prepared for the increased behavior.
The Burn Area Emergency Response (BAER) team that was established this week will start assessing the areas damaged in the fire to look for watersheds that could see post-fire flooding and rockslides and determine who severely soil and plants have burned in certain areas.
“This is the first step in assessing potential watershed impacts from the wildfire to any National Forest values that may be at risk from potential increased flooding, sedimentation, debris flows and rockslides,” said Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests spokesperson K “Reid” Armstrong. “BAER emergency response efforts are focused on the protection of human life, safety and property, as well as critical cultural and natural resources such as the water quality of streams on National Forest System lands.”
A BAER team has also been activated to assess the areas damaged by the Cameron Peak Fire burning in western Larimer County.
A statewide burn ban remains in effect, as do Stage 2 fire restrictions for Grand County. There were 56 personnel working the fire as of Thursday, which officials believe was caused by humans, though they have not yet determined the exact cause.
The fire started late in the morning on Friday, Aug. 14. Anyone with photos or video from the area that might help investigators determine a cause is asked to email them to SM.FS.firstname.lastname@example.org or to call 307-745-2392, option 5, and then to leave a name and phone number so investigators can call back.