The Front Range once again has felt the effects of wildfires burning in Colorado and across the Southwest.
Heavy smoke moved into Denver on Monday night, coming from a fire that sparked Sunday. Another blaze discovered in Eagle county on Sunday spread, bringing a smoke plume over Colorado Springs.
Currently, 47 large fires have burned 519,761 acres across the country, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
In 2021, 29,149 fires have combined to burn 1,118,377 acres, forcing the NIFC to declare preparedness Level 4 for the second earliest time since 1990. That entails “three or more geographic areas experiencing large, complex wildfires requiring incident management teams. Geographic areas are competing for wildland fire suppression resources and about 60% of the country’s wildland firefighting personnel are committed to wildland fire incidents.”
In Colorado, five active fires are have burned a combined 13,221 acres, according to the NIFC.
“An upper low will remain off the California coast with upper ridging over the Intermountain West,” the NIFC wrote in its Tuesday fire forecast. “Dry and windy conditions will continue for the southern Great Basin into the Colorado West Slope. Thunderstorms are likely near and east of the Continental Divide in Colorado and New Mexico.”
The National Weather Service in Boulder issued a red flag warning for nearly the entire western half of Colorado, mirrored by the significant drought those regions face.
Single-digit relative humidity, dry thunderstorms, and strong gusts are predicted for much of Colorado Tuesday afternoon. The widespread but scattered storms will bring gusty and erratic outflow winds.
Here’s the latest on some of the fires burning in Colorado:
Oil Springs fire
The largest of the wildfires currently burning in Colorado is the Oil Springs fire in Rio Blanco County. It stands at 7,183 acres and 0% containment, with lightning being the suspected spark on June 18.
The West fire has grown to 3,000 acres and has no containment. The fire is burning mostly on Bureau of Land Management land on Middle Mountain, about 100 miles northwest of Craig, near Utah and Wyoming. The fire has exploded, growing from around 700 acres just 24 hours ago. About 120 people are working the fire.
The #SylvanFire in the Colorado Rockies blew up today, producing a pyrocumulus plume that reached up to 30,000 feet.
— US StormWatch (@US_Stormwatch) June 22, 2021
The Sylvan fire, which may have been started by lightning, is burning 12 miles south of Eagle. It grew to about 2,630 acres by Tuesday morning, rapidly spreading since it began Sunday. Nearly 70 people are working the blaze.
Click markers for details, use buttons to change what wildfires are shown. Map data is automatically updated by government agencies and could lag real-time events. Incident types are numbered 1-5 — a type 1 incident is a large, complex wildfire affecting people and critical infrastructure, a type 5 incident is a small wildfire with few personnel involved. Find more information about incident types at the bottom of this page.