The Meadow Creek Fire continues to burn in the upper reaches of Main Elk Creek, approximately 8 miles northwest of New Castle. Firefighters flew over the fire today and estimate that it is now four acres in size. The fire is located on the Rifle Ranger District of the White River National Forest.
First detected a week ago, the fire is burning in very steep and rocky terrain and slowly consuming available down and dead material. No structures are immediately at risk. In response to the fire’s growth, the Hadley Gulch Trail (Trail #1840) is now closed for public protection. The Clinetop Road remains open.
Fire personnel are actively managing the Meadow Creek Fire for resource benefit by monitoring the fire daily and checking all active edges. The fire is within an area identified as a proposed Research Natural Area in the White River National Forest’s resource management plan. Prescribed fires have previously been used in this area for wildlife enhancement.
Fire restrictions went into effect July 2 on all BLM lands in the Colorado River Valley and Grand Junction. However, fuel moisture conditions in the higher elevations warrant a different response, according to UCR Central Zone Fire Management Officer (FMO) Russell Long. “Given the variable fuel moistures and higher elevations, we are better able to manage this fire while it cleans up dead forest litter and creates natural openings in the forest.” Fire managers still urge forest users to use caution with all campfires.
FMO Long noted that, “As we continue to manage this fire over the next few weeks, it may from time to time put up smoke that will be visible from the Silt and New Castle area as well as along I-70 corridor from New Castle to Rifle.”
Information about fire activity in the UCR may be obtained by calling 970-244-3104 where information is updated twice a day or more frequently as conditions warrant.