Leadville News – September 30

Two Elk Fire Ignites near Minturn

If Lake County residents weren’t already a bit on edge from the plumes of smoke from the prescribed burn down south at Twin Lakes, the skies towards the west didn’t look much better yesterday as firefighters were engaged in another mission, this one close to Minturn.

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Firefighters conduct direct suppression operations on the perimeter of the fire by utilizing hose lay and water to check and slow fire spread. Photo: Eagle River Fire Protection District.

According to officials from the Eagle River Fire Protection District, swift response by firefighter helped combat the “Two Elk Fire” which is under investigation, with a a fire investigator anticipated to be on-scene today, September 30.

Interagency engines, air resources and crews responded swiftly to the fire which started yesterday afternoon September 29 at around 1 p.m. adjacent to the Minturn Shooting Range/Two Elk Shooting Area.  The Two Elk fire started in grasses and shrub and then made a wind-driven run up the side of the ridge to the east of the shooting range. The fire is now burning in sage, grass, and mixed conifer with some single-tree torching and uphill runs, erratic winds remain a factor in fire behavior. The fire is burning in very steep terrain beneath multiple rock outcroppings.

A hand crew, two helicopters, a Single Engine Air Tanker (SEAT), and multiple engines are on scene. No structures or infrastructure are threatened at this time. Earlier in the day, the SEAT dropped retardant on the south side of the fire to check fire spread. Additionally, two helicopters have been conducting multiple water bucket drops throughout the afternoon to check fire growth. Hand crews are using hose line to conduct direct suppression operations on the fire perimeter where it is safe to do so.

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Early in the afternoon on Sept. 29, a helicopter conducts water bucket drops in coordination with ground crews. Water drops check and slow fire spread. Photo: Eagle River Fire Protection District.

Smoke: Smoke may be visible from Minturn, Colo. and Highway 24.

No Fly Zone: Aerial operations are ongoing. Please refrain from flying drones in the area. 

Closures: The Minturn Shooting Range/Two Elk Shooting Area is closed due to ongoing fire operations. The Two Elk Trail is also closed. No other closures or evacuations are in place at this time. The public is asked to please avoid the area.

Fire Restrictions: Effective at 12 p.m. on Sept. 21, 2018, the White River National Forest reinstated Stage 1 Fire Restrictions. For more information about fire restrictions in these areas connect HERE

“Two Elk Fire” Information:

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The Two Elk Fire broke out near Minturn west of Leadville on September 29. Photo: Courtesy of Eagle River Fire Protection District

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