GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — A wildfire that started Sunday afternoon in Grand County has prompted authorities to issue pre-evacuation notices to residents in the area and grew to about 170 acres as of Monday afternoon.
The Black Mountain Fire, as it is being called, is burning mostly on National Forest land about 8 miles northeast of Kremmling in Grand County.
Residents living in K11 and the west side of HHS21 were told Sunday to prepare for possible evacuation orders if fire conditions worsen.
The initial report came in around 1 p.m. Sunday. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said the fire was estimated at 170 acres in size as of 2 p.m. Monday. Weather conditions were "a little better than we expected," he said, but the fire was still putting off smoke and heat and occasional visible flames.
The fire was burning just to the west of the East Troublesome Fire burn scar.
"That's actually very beneficial and very helpful to us. If the winds work and come from the west to the east, that's going to push us into that scar, which can definitely help firefighting efforts," Schroetlin said.
While relatively small at this time, firefighters are concerned about the potential growth as dead and downed timber fuel the flames.
“The area where the fire is at is fairly similar country to where the East Troublesome Fire started last year, and we all know what happened with that fire,” said Aaron Voos, a spokesperson for the National Forest Service.
The #BlackMountainFire is now at 170 acres and pre-evacuation notices remain in effect. The Grand County Sheriff tells me the fire is 2-3 miles from the closest structure. This fire is also burning near the #EastTroublesomeFire burn scar. He says residents here are on edge. pic.twitter.com/yoJUAL6WGW— Liz Gelardi (@LizGelardi) August 30, 2021
The East Troublesome Fire was reported on the afternoon of Oct. 14 last year. The fire grew to over 10,000 acres in just three days. But the most dramatic increase occurred between late afternoon on Oct. 21 and the early afternoon of Oct. 22, when the size of the fire exploded from 18,550 acres to 187,964 acres during this period.
Crews are hoping that a repeat of last year doesn’t occur with the Black Mountain Fire.
“We've seen what fires in that area can do and want to make sure this one doesn't have similar results,” said Voos.
Schroetlin said the fire was still at least two to three miles away from any structures in the area as of Monday afternoon.
Multiple agencies are on scene and a large air tanker and helicopter are working the fire. Additional resources have been ordered, and the fire management will be transferred to a Type III team.
Schroetlin said Monday that the newly implemented pre-established evacuation areas, which divided Grand County into separate zones, have been helpful to first responders and residents in staying on the same page and getting timely alerts out to the correct people.
The U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management put closures in place on Monday because of the fire.