‘We need snow to end this fire’; Firefighters optimistic they can protect Granby until weekend snow arrives

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GRANBY, Colo. (KDVR) — As the East Troublesome Fire continues to grow, firefighters took an aggressive approach Friday to protect homes in the Fraser Valley.

Calm winds throughout the day allowed firefighters to launch an aerial assault on the southwest portion of the fire, with helicopters and airplanes dropping water and retardant near Highway 40. 

“The last two days, we’ve been really focusing on the preservation of life and property, in that exact order,” says Fire Information Officer Christopher Joyner. “So one of our big focuses today is to keep the fire from crossing (Highway) 40.” 

On Friday, a number of evacuation orders were lifted, as crews re-opened Highway 40 between Granby and Hot Sulphur Springs. 

First responders warned those returning to be ready to leave again at a moment’s notice. 

“We are concerned about the possibility of northwestern winds that would push the fire more towards Granby,” says Joyner. “That would endanger a lot of additional area that has so far not been impacted by the fire.” 

A number of homes to the northwest of Granby remain in a mandatory evacuation zone. Joyner says it’s too early for those homeowners to assess damage.

“We are absolutely not ready for people to start coming back. We are still in a firefighting mode, and still trying to preserve life,” says Joyner. “We just need people to be patient with us.”

The Pinpoint Weather forecast calls for the potential of snow in the area over the weekend. Joyner says firefighters will need help from Mother Nature to contain the fire.

“These thousand-hour fuels are going to burn for a long time,” he said. “It has to have a season-ending event like a big snowstorm to put it out. We’re all hoping and praying that we get a lot of snow.”

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