GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) – A wildfire burning north of Glenwood Springs was human-caused.
White River National Forest spokesperson Bill Kight says the Middle Elk Fire probably sparked Thursday from an abandoned, hunter campfire.
The fire, which has now spread to 213 acres, is burning on the Flat Tops about 30 miles east of New Castle near the Buford New Castle Road. It’s about 9,500 feet in elevation.
Kight says firefighters haven’t been able to get a containment estimate because smaller fires keep popping up ahead of the fire line and merging with the bigger blaze. The area only received 1/100 of an inch of moisture in recent storms, which did little to slow the fire’s progress.
The thick timber, beetle-killed timber and multiple snags are making it harder for firefighters to put it out.
All the roads and areas east of Hiner Spring have been closed, including the Meadow Lake Campgrounds. According to Kight, the Buford New Castle Road may be closed as well if the fire continues to spread.
Kight wants to remind everyone that fire season is not over. Take extra precautions when lighting fires in the open, and make sure they are fully out before you leave them, says Kight.
Crews have been using hand crews and Single Engine Air Tankers (SEATs) and helicopters to drop water on the flames.