East Troublesome Fire explodes to 170,163 acres, forces thousands of evacuations

The fire was roughly 14,000 acres on Wednesday morning
Photo from Estes Park, Oct. 22
Photo from Estes Park, Oct. 22(Credit: kevin j. beaty/colorado public radio news")
Published: Oct. 22, 2020 at 9:39 AM MDT|Updated: Oct. 23, 2020 at 10:10 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - After forcing evacuations to more than 6,500 homes on Wednesday night near Grand Lake, the East Troublesome Fire forced even more evacuations Thursday in Estes Park as the fires kept growing east.

Crews on Friday morning said that the fire had burned 170,163 acres, more than 146,000 acres more than where it stood Wednesday morning. Extreme drought conditions paired with gusty winds have perpetuated the rapid growth, and crews expect another active fire day on Friday.

Thursday morning, Rocky Mountain National Park closed the park down to visitors as the fire hopped over the continental divide near Mt. Wuh. This push over the divide was the ultimate factor in evacuating Estes Park that sits directly below.

Fortunate for Estes Park, however, was the approach of a cold front on the east side of the Rockies, which increased the humidity and allowed the fire to “checkup” and “brought this fire back down to the surface,” on Thursday afternoon according to Incident Commander Noel Livingston. “That was great news.”

The rapid growth has pushed the East Troublesome Fire to become the second-largest fire in state history, just behind the Cameron Peak Fire, which is burning less than 15 miles north of the East Troublesome. The last mapping of that fire put it at 206,977 acres.

Containment on the East Troublesome Fire stands at 5%, and 57% on the Cameron Peak Fire. Snow is expected to hit the fire areas on Sunday, which should provide temporary relief to crews battling these two massive fires.

A personal message from Sheriff Brett Schroetlin.

Posted by Grand County Sheriff's Office - Colorado on Thursday, October 22, 2020

A map of all evacuated areas can be found here.

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