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Grizzly Creek Fire closes I-70 through Glenwood Canyon, fills Eagle County with smoke

August 10, 2020, 6:06 pm
The Grizzly Creek Fire

The Grizzly Creek Fire raging in Glenwood Canyon has shut down Interstate 70 in both directions, with no estimated time for reopening. Firefighting crews as of 9 p.m. had shut down operations and will resume in the morning, with I-70 closed overnight.

“The Grizzly Creek Fire is reporting around 1300 acres with over 60+firefighters on scene. Heavy air attack with four Heavy Air Tankers, two Single Engine Air Tankers (SEAT) and a Type I and Type III helicopter. NO DRONES or UAS (unmanned aerial systems) are authorized in the area,” reads a Facebook page set up by first responders. No word yet on what caused the fire, which thus far has not caused any deaths or injuries.

And here’s the latest from the Colorado Department of Transportation on the status of I-70 and alternative routes:

GARFIELD & EAGLE COUNTIES ― CDOT asks motorists to plan on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon to be closed overnight on Monday, Aug. 10. The safety closure is to allow CDOT specialists to assess two bridges located near where the Grizzly Creek Fire started, as well as increased rockfall hazard in Glenwood Canyon. Increased rockfall has been reported and is likely due to burned vegetation no longer holding rocks in place. CDOT asks that motorists *not* use Cottonwood Pass as a detour, due to fire activity.

I-70 closure locations are at the following locations:

– At Gypsum (Exit 140) for westbound I-70
– At Glenwood Springs (Exit 116) for eastbound I-70.

CDOT continues to recommend the below detours for travelers. We understand these detours add several hours travel time, and appreciate that motorists understand the safety closure on I-70 is absolutely necessary.

Agencies are responding to the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon, which began at Mile Point 120. Closures and delays may continue to be extensive. 

CDOT recommends that travelers use highways to the south of I-70 while detouring:

– Travelers heading westbound on I-70 can use US 24, CO 91, or CO 9 to US 285 US 50 and continue west.

– Motorists headed east on I-70 can travel on US 50 to travel east towards US 24, CO 91 or CO 9 to return to I-70 eastbound, or continue east on 285 to the Denver metro area.

– Motorists can take a northern detour of CO 131 to US 40 to CO 139. Please note that while CO 13 is open at this time, it is not a recommended detour due to construction. *Oversize commercial vehicles are not allowed due to construction conditions on CO 13.

Delays are likely on these routes, as they do not normally carry traffic volumes as heavy as I-70. CDOT asks that motorists *not* use Cottonwood Pass, due to fire activity.

Updates and information about the Grizzly Creek Fire can be found at the following locations: https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6942/

And here’s a press release from the U.S. Forest Service:

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — This afternoon about 60 firefighters and numerous aircraft responded to the 1,300-acre Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon near the Grizzly Creek rest area, about five miles east of Glenwood Springs.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. There are no immediate threats to structures and no evacuations are in place.

Most of the firefighting effort this afternoon took place from the air because the rugged terrain and extreme fire behavior. This afternoon the air attack included two VLATs (very large air tankers), five LATs (large air tankers), five helicopters, and two SEATs (single engine air tankers).

Interstate 70 is closed in both directions from Exit 116 (Glenwood Springs) to Exit 140 (Gypsum); alternate routes are advised. The highway will be reopened when it is safe to do so.

The Forest Service is closing Coffee Pot Road outside of Dotsero and associated areas of the Flattops, as well as Hanging Lake. A map and more information about the closure will be posted tomorrow.

The fire was first reported 1:29 p.m. today. Upon arrival the firefighters encountered large active flames in the I-70 median before the fire took a run up the north-facing slope. Supporting agencies include the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit, Glenwood Springs Fire Department, Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Gypsum Fire Protection District, Roaring Fork Fire Rescue, Carbondale Fire and Rural Fire Protection District, Colorado River Fire Rescue, and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control. Firefighters are coordinating closely with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Firefighters reported extreme fire behavior. Conditions throughout western Colorado remain very dry, and fire danger is high.

Fire updates can be found on the Grizzly Creek Fire Facebook page @GrizzlyCreekFireCO or on Inciweb at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6942/

For Colorado Department of Transportation updates please visit: www.COTRIP.org

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