Gusty winds have activated a Red Flag Warning across the state and a Burn Ban for Lake County as dry conditions fuel active wildfire situations and concerns about the possibility of others. For those living in Leadville Today that means restrictions have been put in place by local emergency personnel (see Burn Ban notice below). But it’s also the smoke that can be seen to the west over the Continental Divide that has the LT newsroom buzzing with inquiries. Here’s the status as on 9 a.m. Monday, Sept. 30.
Where There’s Smoke
According to officials from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire and Aviation Management Unit with the US Forest Service The Granite Lake Fire was detected on September 21 in the Hunter Fryingpan Wilderness, approximately 13 miles southeast of Meredith, located in neighboring Pitjkin County. It has been relatively inactive until recent dry, windy weather increased fire activity. Smoke from the fire may be visible from surrounding communities.
The fire resulted from a natural ignition on a steep slope at approximately 11,000 feet in elevation. Wind has pushed the fire across patches of high alpine vegetation and avalanche paths. An infrared flight Saturday evening estimated the fire at 113 acres.
The Granite Lake Fire is in the South Fork drainage of the Fryingpan River above South Fork Pass trail 1940, 2 miles past the end of Forest Road 504. It is near the center of the Hunter-Fryingpan Wilderness and is not presently threatening any structures of infrastructure.
Fire managers are using aviation resources to monitor and manage the fire.
Lake County Burn Ban In Effect
Sunday afternoon, September 30, Lake County Sheriff Amy Reyes released the following press release to media outlets.
Due to current critical weather conditions, per County Ordinance 2000-22, the Sheriff is issuing a County Wide burn ban until further notice. Please contact Leadville Fire Department at 719-486-2990 or Non- Emergency number for Lake County Sheriff’s Office 719-486-1249 for further information.
- Building, maintaining, attending or using a fire or campfire, including charcoal.
- Smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
- Operating motorized vehicles off designated roads or trails.
- Blasting, welding or other activities, which generate flame or flammable material.
- Fireworks and model rocketry.
- Target or Recreational Shooting is prohibited with the exception of using lead bullets.
- Operating a chain saw without a 10lb ABC or 2 ½ gallon pressurized or equivalent fire extinguisher, and large size pointed shovel readily available for quick use.
- Persons with a written exemption from the Sheriff that specifically authorizes the otherwise prohibited act.
- Persons using a fire solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels (Propane BBQ).
- Any Federal, State or local officer or member of an organized rescue or firefighting force in the performance of an official duty.
- Approved fully contained outdoor wood burning furnace/boiler.
- For commercial operations authorized under contract or permit, internal and external combustion engines may be operated as approved by the Forest Service within designated areas. 6. Campfires in developed campgrounds with fire rings. Individual Fire Protection Districts may impose stricter.