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Colorado fires continue to grow, but higher humidity will help slow spread

by Sam Tabachnik, Denver Post |

Colorado’s Pine Gulch Fire grew slightly overnight Monday, and is now burning 134,999 acres, or 211 square miles, with 47 percent containment, fire officials said Tuesday.

Smoke from four major fires in the state, combined with particulates spewed from California’s fires, have significantly worsened air quality across Colorado.

Afternoon winds Monday brought Pine Gulch Fire activity east of Garfield County Road 267, moving up Corral Canyon and onto the ridge near Long Point, officials said.

Crews conducted successful burning operations Monday night near Colorado 139, and the containment line is holding well in the area, officials said.

Afternoon thunderstorms could bring lightning and 25 mile per hour winds Tuesday, with a small chance of rain. The odds of some precipitation increase throughout the week, with higher relative humidity.

More than 900 people are fighting the fire, which sparked July 31 from lightning, and remains the second-largest wildfire in Colorado history.

>> Grizzly Creek

The Grizzly Creek Fire grew overnight Monday to 32,060 acres, 50 square miles, but fire crews were able to gain significant containment, fire officials said in a news release.

Containment jumped to 44 percent Tuesday morning from 33 percent the day before.
>> Cameron Peak

The Cameron Peak Fire increased slightly overnight Monday, and is now burning 21,017 acres, or 33 square miles, with no containment.

A westerly wind Monday pushed the fire into pockets of beetle-kill mixed conifer, a pattern which is expected to continue Tuesday, fire officials said.

The most active area of the wildfire Tuesday is expected to be the Comanche Wilderness on the southern edge, near Peterson Lake.

>> Williams Fork

The Williams Fork Fire grew slightly overnight Monday, and is now burning 11,266 acres, nearly 18 square miles, with 5% containment, fire officials said Tuesday morning.

Fire crews successfully worked on containment Monday along the Williams Fork River, with additional work necessary to achieve full containment in the area, officials said.

Firefighters also received help Monday from the Colorado National Guard, which used two helicopters to assist in fire suppression.

Monday’s weather proved moderate – with light rain and increased humidity – and the increased moisture is expected to continue through mid-week, with rain possible.