Muddy Slide Fire updates: Remains 70% contained, burning 4,093 acres

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Muddy Slide Fire near Kremmling (photo from NWS)

KREMMLING, Colo. (KDVR) — A wildfire that ignited on Sunday afternoon, June 20, spread to more than 4,093 acres before the end of the month. Evacuations have been lifted. Area, road and trail closure remains in effect.

UPDATE (August 2 3:15 p.m.): The fire continues to smolder within its existing footprint with limited potential for spread. Drift smoke from other fires north and west of Colorado kept skies hazy across the region.

Currently the fire is at 4,093 acres and 70% containment.

UPDATE (July 30, 1:00 p.m..): Crews will continue patrolling looking for any remaining pockets of heat. The fire continues to smolder within its existing footprint with limited potential for spread.

UPDATE (July 27, 9:20 a.m.): The fire remains at 4,093 acres and 70% containment, with no growth in weeks. Muddy Slide Fire area closure on the Routt National Forest has been reduced. County Road 16 (Forest Road 270) is now open to through traffic in south Routt County. Forest Road 275 is also open. The area closure now more closely reflects an enlarged fire footprint, west of the 270 Road and north of Highway 134 along the National Forest borders.

UPDATE (July 26, 11:20 a.m.): A combination of hot and dry conditions will result in a period of elevated fire weather conditions through at least Tuesday. Models continue to indicate moisture will begin to return to the area Wednesday, which will moderate fire weather conditions for the latter portion of the week.

UPDATE (July 25, 12 p.m.): The Muddy Slide Fire remains 4,093 acres and 70% contained. There are 69 personnel assigned to the incident. Crews will continue to patrol all divisions looking for any remaining pockets of heat. The fire continues to smolder within its existing footprint with limited potential to spread.

UPDATE (July 23, 11:45 a.m.): Area, road, and trail closures remain in effect. Moisture will be pushed south and away from the fire this weekend resulting in a warming and drying trend beginning Saturday. By Sunday hot and dry conditions can be expected with little to no chance for showers and thunderstorms.

UPDATE (July 21, 9:45 a.m.): On Wednesday shift to more moderated fire weather conditions, as monsoonal moisture spread back into the area from the southwest.

UPDATE (July 20, 11:15 a.m.): Tuesday sees a southwesterly flow return and pull monsoon moisture back over the fire. This change will noticeably moderate fire weather conditions mid-week and beyond. Increased moisture persisting over the area should lead to an extended period of increased cloud cover, somewhat cooler temperatures, noticeably higher relative humidity, and daily rounds of scattered showers and thunderstorms.

UPDATE (July 19, 12:05 p.m.): Crews will be patrolling all divisions to ensure the fire remains in its current footprint with the anticipated warmer, drier weather that is forecasted for today. Temperatures are expected to be in the high 70s to low 80s and relative humidity around 20%. Winds are forecasted to be out of the west at 5-10 mph with gusts up to 15 mph on ridges. A change in weather pattern is expected on Tuesday with increased chances of rain and thunderstorms, lower temperatures, and higher humidity.

UPDATE (July 18, 4:48 p.m.): According to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, the Rocky Mountain Team Black assumed command of the fire. The fire remains at 4,093 acres, 70% contained. Operations will continue and crews will be patrolling the fire today and in coming days.

UPDATE (July 16, 12:45 p.m.): The fire management team at the Muddy Slide Fire reports that is now at 58% containment. Conditions are still hot, dry and windy. Isolated smoke and hot spots along uncontrolled fire line and within the fire perimeter.

UPDATE (July 14, 2:40 p.m.): Stage 1 Fire Restrictions are still in effect on the Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests and Thunder Basin National Grassland. Area closure remains around the fire.

UPDATE (July 13, 1:00 p.m.): The fire management team at the Muddy Slide Fire reports that is now at 57% containment. Conditions are still hot, dry and windy. Isolated smoke and hot spots along uncontrolled fire line and within the fire perimeter.

UPDATE (July 11, 10:48 p.m.): Next 24 hours – Hidden smokes may materialize with the continued warm and dry conditions. Winds will be downslope/downvalley 2-5 mph until 10 a.m., then north winds 4-8 mph. Occasional gusts up to 18 mph after 1:00 a.m. No growth is expected.

UPDATE (July 9, 9 a.m.): The fire management team at the Muddy Slide Fire reports that is now at 50% containment. Fire behavior is limited to creep and smoldering but there are isolated trees igniting causing visible flames and smoke.

UPDATE (July 7, 9 a.m.): Weather conditions for the back half of this week will be in the fire’s favor, with high temperatures, low humidity and limited rainfall.

Thankfully, the fire has not spread in recent days, but there also has not been much containment gained in the fight.

UPDATE (July 5, 9 a.m.): There are no significant updates from firefighters overnight. Full containment of the Muddy Slide Fire is expected by the end of the month.

UPDATE (July 4, 7:30 p.m.): A Type 3 Incident Management Team is shadowing the Rocky Mountain Blue Team in order to take over command on Monday.

The fire remains at 45% containment and 4,093 acres.

UPDATE (July 3, 11:00 p.m.): The fire is now 45% contained and did not grow on Saturday. Low fire behavior is expected over the next few days.

UPDATE (July 2, 11:29 p.m.) The Muddy Slide Fire reached 42% containment by Friday night. It remained at 4,093 acres.

Thunderstorms helped slow the spread of the fire. Responders are looking to transition to a smaller team to continue firefighting suppression activities.

UPDATE (July 1, 10:59 p.m.) The Muddy Slide Fire reached 39% containment by the end of Thursday and remained at 4,093 acres.

UPDATE (July 1, 10:17 a.m.): The Muddy Slide Fire is still burning at 28% containment as of this morning. 4,093 acres have burned since the fire started June 20, 2021.

Hayden Fairgrounds in Hayden is taking livestock for those concerned about livestock safety. Routt County Humane Society is sheltering pets for those who call (970)-879-1090.

Muddy Slide Fire Current Evacuations map. Credit: Routt County Current Evacuation Notices

For updates on evacuations, visit the Muddy Slide Fire Current Evacuations map.

UPDATE (8:50 p.m.): The containment of the fire is up to 28%. Low fire behavior is expected as rain continues to fall on the fire.

UPDATE (June 30, 10:50 a.m.): Firefighters are building control lines around the active fire perimeter and making efforts to protect threatened homes.

There is a mandatory evacuation still in place for surrounding neighborhoods. Aerial firefighters in helicopters are currently supporting ground firefighting resources.

Hayden Fairgrounds in Hayden is taking livestock for those concerned about livestock safety. Routt County Humane Society is sheltering pets for those who call (970)-879-1090.

UPDATE (June 29, 11 a.m.): Three hotshot crews and a ‘wildfire suppression module’ are expected to join the fight against the Muddy Slide Fire today. These resources are expected to reinforce the fire lines and cool the area around the fire’s perimeter.

The crews should arrive as new heavy equipment, including dozers and logging equipment, become available for use.

Structure protection plans for the Stagecoach area are being developed, and should be finalized within the next two days.

UPDATE (June 28, 10:30 p.m.): Acreage has changed slightly, down to 4,093 acres, as a result of a multi -mission aircraft flight. The MMA flight is used to map fire acreage and we had not had a flight in several days due to cloud cover obscuring the landscape. The fire has reached 14% containment along County Road 16.

Update (June 28, 8 a.m.):  The source of the fire that has claimed 4,150 acres is still under investigation as of Monday morning. Weekend precipitation has permitted fire managers to brace for a long fight against the Muddy Slide Fire as it will likely be a long-term struggle for this summer. Fire crews continue to prepare indirect fire lines along the Northern perimeter of the fire and will continue clearing the area around County Road 16.  

UPDATE (June 27, 10:25 p.m.): Officials reported the fire is burning 4,093 acres and a gradual drying and warming trend is expected to begin on Monday.

UPDATE (June 27, 12:30 p.m.): With forecasted precipitation, fire behavior will be low with creeping and possible pockets of isolated torching in the spruce/fir stands where moisture doesn’t penetrate the canopy.

UPDATE (June 26, 10 p.m.): Crews will continue to go direct where it is safe while limiting exposures to snags. Structure protection and triage will continue along county road 16. Resources will continue to scout and assess the fire area for places where suppression actions have high probability of success.

UPDATE (June 26, 12 p.m.): On Friday, the fire area received more approximately 1/4 inch of rain mixed with hail in places, which moderated fire behavior.

Fire crews will continue to take advantage of the cooler weather as they continue building and securing fire lines, but Muddy Slide Fire is expected to be a long duration event. The recent rain and cool temperatures have given firefighters a temporary advantage, but live and dead vegetation are both exceptionally dry. 

UPDATE (June 25, 8:45 a.m.): The fire grew to 4,156 acres on Friday morning.

  • On Thursday, the fire area received about 0.2 inches of rain, which temporarily reduced fire behavior. Firefighters took advantage of this brief reprieve to safely build fire lines closer to the edge of the fire.
  • One more type 1 helicopter and two “Super Scooper” aircraft have arrived to assist ground resources.
  • Muddy Slide Fire is expected to be a long duration fire due to a variety of factors. Over the past two days, fire managers have been able to fully evaluate fire behavior, moisture level of vegetation, and difficult terrain. The vegetation, or fuels, are exceptionally dry and are already very receptive to carrying fire, and while the cooler weather and moisture help in the short-term, the weather is forecast to turn warm and dry once again.

UPDATE (June 24, 2:45 p.m.): The fire is currently 4,056 acres with 0% containment. Mandatory evacuation for residents on County Rd 16 between mile marker 12 and mile marker 21 are currently in place.

The Muddy Slide Fire is located in the Gore Range, Routt National Forest, northwest of Lynx Pass, near Muddy Creek and The Slide.

The Routt County Sheriff’s office issued a mandatory evacuation Wednesday for the area of County Road 16 from mile marker 12 to Highway 134.

The Hayden Fairgrounds in Hayden is taking livestock and the Routt County Humane Society at 760 Critter Court in Steamboat Springs will take pets but you MUST call 970-879-1090 before heading out to ensure someone will be on site.

Updates will be posted in this story as they are received.

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