MEEKER | Several people called in reports of smoke north of Meeker in the area of County Road 9 (Wilson Creek) around 1 p.m. Sunday. A new fire start was located between Sulphur Creek and Wilson Creek and was reported at approximately 15 acres and growing Sunday afternoon. Multiple agencies responded.
Smoke was visible from the Sage Hills Subdivision and Strawberry Creek Road. Several aircraft were called in to assist. Photographer Michelle Cox reported retardant drops along transmission lines in the Wilson Creek area. The power line in the area supplies power to Arizona and the four corners area.
Sunday evening, gusty and erratic outflow winds from a passing storm cell caused the fire to spread very rapidly. As of 7:59 p.m. Sunday there were wind gusts of 25-30 miles per hour in the fire location with active fire behavior. This forced closure and evacuation of County Road 11 (Sulphur Creek) from mile marker 2.5 to the end of the road. Pre-evacuation orders were in effect for the Sage Hills subdivisions for a few hours as well. The wind died down around 10 p.m., and the pre-evac orders were lifted shortly after. Approximately 30 firefighters from Meeker Volunteer Fire Department, Rio Blanco County and Craig Interagency Fire Management Unit worked late into the night to protect two evacuated structures along Sulphur Creek Road and the homes northwest of Meeker.
Per the fires’ Inciweb page this blaze burned brush, short grass, oak, pinyon-juniper and sage. The primary concern throughout the fire’s duration was gusty and erratic winds from storm systems as well as current drought conditions.
As of July 31, this fire is 100 percent contained.
You may see smoke plumes in the area as hot spots within the containment line burn themselves out.
The Sheriff’s office is reminding residents to sign up for their new emergency alert system, Swift911. Here’s how: http://www.theheraldtimes.com/911-what-is-your-emergency-county-switches-to-new-911-information-system/rio-blanco-county/
For information on the Stewart Gulch fire burning southwest of Meeker, please visit: http://www.theheraldtimes.com/breaking-new-fire-in-piceance-basin/rio-blanco-county/
For information on the Indian Valley Fire burning northwest of Meeker, please visit: http://www.theheraldtimes.com/everything-we-know-about-the-indianvalleyfire-so-far/rio-blanco-county/