Ward Gulch fire burning 682 acres, evacuations ordered in Garfield County

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The fire burning above Rifle Gap (Photo Courtesy: Garfield County Emergency Communications Authority Facebook/

GARFIELD COUNTY, Colo. — The Ward Gulch fire burning north of the Rifle Gap State Park has burned 682 acres, forcing authorities to order evacuations in the area.

The fire sparked at approximately 1:30 p.m. Friday, from what officials from the Bureau of Land Management said appeared to be lightning. As of Saturday night, the fire was 15 percent contained.

Evacuations have been ordered for those living north of Rifle Gap along Highway 325.The evacuation center is located at the Garfield County Fairgrounds.

Rifle Gap is also closed to boat traffic to facilitate air operations. Colorado State Highway 325 is closed north of the Grass Valley intersection. Rifle Falls State Park and Rifle Mountain Park are closed.

As of Saturday morning, Type 3 Incident Management teams took over the fire. There are currently four hand crews and two single engine air tankers, and two helicopters working on the fire and dipping water out of Rifle Gap.

“While Colorado State Highway 325 is open to the reservoir, we need to keep the highway open for fire resources, so are asking the community to please avoid unnecessary travel there to assist us in fighting this fire,” said fire information officer Pat Thrasher.

This story will be updated as more information is provided.

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