Rain, cooler temperatures slow Hunt Fire in Rio Blanco County

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RIO BLANCO COUNTY, Colo. — Rain and cooler temperatures helped slow the Hunt Fire burning on Bureau of Land Management land in Rio Blanco County, the Northwest Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit said Monday.

The lightning-caused fire started Thursday and is burning in a remote area about 26 miles southwest of Meeker.

After ballooning to about 2,300 acres on Saturday, the fire only grew to about 2,578 acres on Sunday, officials said.

The fire is burning in thick brush on ridges and valleys north of the Roan Plateau.

Warmer and windy weather is expected Monday afternoon that likely will begin fueling the fire again.

Firefighters are focusing on protecting values at risk, including several isolated historic cabins and dispersed oil and gas facilities.

An opportunity to hold the fire’s southern perimeter has been identified and burnout operations are expected to begin Monday or Tuesday.

Officials are hoping to keep the fire north of the Rio Blanco-Garfield County line, south of an oil pipeline that is north of the fire, east of Hunter Creek and west of West Willow Creek.

Officials say a more diverse landscape that can support a wider variety of wildlife will be made possible by the fire.

Big game and livestock will be able to move through the area easier and new vegetative growth will allow for greater and improved forage.

An area closure remains in an effect to allow firefighters and public safety crews in the area around the fire.

The closure includes public lands and routes within an area north of the Rio Blanco-Garfield County line, east of Hunter Creek Road, west of West Willow Creek Road and extending north to County Road 5.

Two helicopters, two hand crews and several engines from the BLM and local agencies are working the fire.

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