Incident responders say Oil Springs Fire now at 99% containment

Local News

Oil Springs Fire air drop (photo from BLM)

RIO BLANCO COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — A fire sparked by lightning in a remote part of a Wilderness Study Area on June 18 is 97% contained as of July 1. Below you will find the latest updates.

UPDATE (July 9, 9 a.m.): There have been minimal developments as the fire is nearly 100% contained, growth is not expected beyond the current area.

UPDATE (July 7, 9 a.m.): The Oil Springs Fire has now reached 99% containment, inching closer to the goal of full containment by July 10.

Since a lightning strike ignited the fire on June 18, it has burned 12,613 Acres of primarily pinyon, juniper and sagebrush.

There are currently 286 personnel assigned to the fire.

UPDATE (July 3, 10:55 p.m.): The Oil Springs Fire is expected to be fully contained by July 10.

UPDATE (July 1, 10:52 p.m.): The Oil Springs Fire is now at 97% containment. It remains at 12,613 acres.

Great Basin Incident Management Team 3 will transition command of the fire to a Type 4 organization on July 3 at 6 a.m. The fire is in monitor status with crews patrolling containment lines around the fire perimeter.

Barring unforeseen developments, this will be the final update from Great Basin Team 3 for the Oil Springs Fire.

UPDATE (July 1, 9 a.m.) : The Oil Springs Fire is now at 76% containment with 12,613 acres burned. The fire is being fueled by pinyon, juniper and sagebrush. The fire spread has been minimal today.

Firefighters estimate full containment can be reached by approximately July 10 around noon. County roads 113 and 116 and BLM road 1045 remain closed.

Fire crews continue to patrol firelines for potential containment issues.

Oil Springs fire perimeter. Courtesy: Regional Incident management team

UPDATE (June 30, 10:45 a.m.): The fire is now up to 12,613 acres burned at 58% containment. Highway 139 is still open while County roads 113 and 116 and BLM road 1045 are closed for firefighter and public safety. Stage 2 fire restrictions are being reinforced for Rio Blanco County and there are no evacuations at this time. The weather is predicted to warm and dry over the next week, possibly increasing fire behavior.

UPDATE (June 29, 11 a.m.): Firefighters are primarily using Highway 139 to access the burn area, and drivers traveling along it are advised to use extra caution.

Today, firefighters will work to improve containment lines on the southeast section of the fire. Line digging and cold trailing are also taking place from the West creek Area toward Oil Springs Mountain. Crews from the north side of the fire will begin pushing south toward Texas Mountain.

Temperatures around 80 and low winds are expected to minimize fire activity, especially in the low elevations.

UPDATE (June 28, 10:30 p.m.): Firefighters from the TH Logging company in Arlee, MT maintained the sprinkler system at the Dragon Trail gas plant. They make sure that the sprinkler heads are working properly and that the hoses are flowing correctly. Precautions are still being taken to protect this infrastructure from the Oil Springs Fire.

UPDATE (June 28, 9 a.m.): Ongoing mop up efforts near County Road 116 and Texas Mountain on the northwestern border of the Oil Springs Fire are maintaining the 18% containment achieved on Sunday. The use of caution is still advised for those travelling along Highway 139, which crews are still actively using while fighting the blaze. County Roads 113, 116 and BLM road 1045 are still closed as drier conditions span the forecast and are expected to make firefighting efforts more challenging.

UPDATE (June 27, 9:30 p.m.): Containment is at 18% and officials reported the fire is burning 12,613 acres. A warming and drying trend is expected to continue into next week. Fire behavior may increase as fuels dry out.

UPDATE (June 27, 12:30 p.m.): The fire is still at 11% containment, burning 12,707 acres.

County roads 113 and 116 and BLM road 1045 are still closed for firefighter and public safety.

The fire area experienced lower relative humidity and warmer temperatures yesterday. This warming and drying trend is expected to continue today and into next week.  As fuels dry, especially in pockets of heavy fuels, fire behavior may increase. 

UPDATE (June 26, 9:28 p.m.): The Oil Springs Fire is now at 11% containment, burning 12,707 acres.

The fire area received an average of 0.2 inches to 0.4 inches of rain in the past 24 hours that tempered fire activity. The chance of rain will diminish, and temperatures are predicted to increase. The fire did not spread much because of rain, but has the potential to increase as temperatures rise and dry out fuels. Although rain reduced fire activity, there are still areas of concern that will require continued firefighter attention. 

UPDATE (June 26, 12 p.m.): Rain has helped with containment on the south side of the fire.

Fire officials say Highway 139 is back open but County Roads 116 and 113 are still closed.

UPDATE (June, 25, 10:45 a.m.): Yesterday’s rains permitted firefighters to gain 5% containment of the Oil Springs Fire. Crews have contained the spot fire that sparked between East Douglass Creek and Willow Creek entirely. Firefighters plan to expand containment lines along Highway 139 in the West Creek Road area as well as along the stretch of County Road 116 near the Dragon Trail gas plant.

UPDATE (June, 24, 10 p.m.): After the day’s activities and cooler weather, the Oil Springs Fire is now 5% contained. The current size of the fire is 12,707 acres.

UPDATE (June 24, 2:40 p.m.): Smoke is visible from Highway 139, Highway 64, Rangely, Meeker and all surrounding areas. Rio Blanco County will be going to Stage 2 Fire Restrictions on Friday, June 25, 2021.

UPDATE (June 24, 8:10 a.m.): All evacuations have been lifted. Road Openings: County Road 23, County Road County Road 122 and County Road 103. Highway 139 remains closed while fire crews are building and securing containment lines.

UPDATE (June 24, 6:45 a.m.): The fire has grown to 11,933 with no containment. Firefighters worked with energy industry employees and Rio Blanco County personnel to set up sprinklers around the Dragon Trail gas plant and other structures. One large airtanker and eight single-engine air tankers dropped retardant around the gas plant to help slow the fire’s progress. Firefighters cleared brush around the oil and gas infrastructure as well to minimize the potential for large fire growth in the area.

UPDATE (June 23, 9:27 a.m.): The fire has grown to 7, 395 acres. Firefighters will continue to secure containment line around the spot fire between East Douglas Creek and Willow Creek. Containing the 37-acre spot fire is one of the top priorities for Team 3 today. A helicopter assigned to the incident will transport water to crews working in this remote area to help them accomplish this objective. The other priority is building and securing containment lines along Highway 139, which remains closed for public and firefighter safety. The fire burned further north along the highway Tuesday evening in critically dry fuels.

UPDATE (June 23, 6:13 a.m.): The fire continues to grow with no containment reported. The Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office shared this photo on Wednesday morning:

Rio Blanco County Sheriff’s Office

UPDATE (June 22, 7:03 p.m.): The fire has grown to 7,395 acres and remains uncontained.

UPDATE: (June 22, 10 a.m.): The evacuation order due to Oil Springs Fire has been extended until at least 8 p.m. Tuesday. The evacuation order covers from the Garfield County line to Rio Blanco County Road 116 on the west side of Highway 139 and Rio Blanco County Roads 27, 28, 103, 26A and 120 on the east side of Highway 139. The evacuation point is the Rangely Latter Day Saints Church at 125 Eagle Crest.

UPDATE (June 21, 8:30 p.m.): The Oil Springs Fire is up to 7,183 acres and remains at zero containment.

Officials reported one out house has been lost in the fire and the fire is still very active, having multiple spot fires on Monday. Active fire behavior due to dry conditions, receptive fuels and wind is a challenge for firefighters. Multiple agencies have been called in to assist with structure protection.

Smoke is visible from Highway 139, Highway 64, Rangely, Meeker and all surrounding areas.

Road closures include: Highway 139, County Road 23 and County Road 113 intersection, County Road 122 at mile marker 10. Evacuations will continue another 25 hours due to continual fire pressure along County Road 116, County Road 27, County Road 28, County Road 120, County Road 26A, County Road 103 and County Road 128. 

UPDATE (June 21, noon): The Oil Springs Fire has now grown to 5,000 acres according to the Rio Blanco Sheriff’s Facebook page.

The fire is still zero percent contained and additional evacuations have been ordered for County Road 116 (West of Highway 139), County Road 120, 27, 28, 103, 26A and 128.

ORIGINAL (June 20, 8 p.m.): A fire sparked by lightning in a remote part of a Wilderness Study Area grew from 25 acres to 500 in more than 24 hours.

Evacuations have been extended to County Road 103, County Road 128 and County Road 26A. Original evacuations were ordered for Garfield County line to RB County Road 116 on the west side of Highway 139 and RB County Roads 27, 28, and 120 on the east side of the road on Sunday evening until at least 8 p.m. on Monday.

The evacuation point is the Rangely Latter Day Saints Church at 125 Eagle Crest. Due to road closures, you can only drive north on Highway 139.

Officials closed Highway 139 at Highway 64 and Interstate 70.

The fire is approximately 20 miles south of Rangely, on the Western Slope.

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