Dead Dog Fire in northwest Colorado explodes to more than 16,000 acres

RANGELY, Colo. — High winds, and warm, dry conditions exploded the Dead Dog Fire in northwest Colorado to more than 16,000 acres on Tuesday, the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit said.

The Type 2 Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team Black assumed command of the fire on Tuesday morning.

Officials said the fire is at about 16,470 acres, and is burning sagebrush, pinyon juniper and cheat grass.

The fire is 10 miles north of Rangely and has grown from 40 acres on Monday morning to more than 5,000 acres by Monday night to the latest estimate at noon Tuesday.

Rio Blanco County roads 1 and 65, and and Moffat County roads 61 and 134 remain closed, officials said. Fire officials reopened U.S. Highway 40 and lifted evacuation orders for Blue Mountain.

The fire is burning within a quarter-mile of U.S. 40. No injuries have been reported.

A community meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the EEC Building (402 W. Main St.) in Rangely.

The Hunter Fire continues to burn about 20 miles southwest of Meeker and is 30 percent contained.  It has burned 1,063 acres after starting Saturday afternoon.

More than 200 firefighters are working the two fires with additional resources on the way.

A third wildfire, the Cross Fire 35 miles west of Craig, remains at 55 acres, officials said.

The Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office said residents in Dinosaur have been asked to be prepared to evacuate as the fire pushes northwest.