Wildfire Forces Evacuation of Town Near Rocky Mountain National Park

Wildfire has burned at least 125,600 acres

 

East Troublesome Fire double plume on Oct. 19, 2020. (Jill Guttman/InciWeb photo)

 

DENVER (AP) — Residents in and around a gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park have evacuated and the park was closed after one of several fires burning in northern Colorado exploded late Wednesday, growing from 30 square miles to 196 square miles (508 square kilometers)

The damage to the Grand Lake area from the East Troublesome Fire was not clear Thursday but Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said at a morning fire briefing that there had been “lots of structural loss.”

InciWeb: East Troublesome Fire Updates

The fire spread into park, which was closed to park visitors. Trail Ridge Road, the scenic road through the park, was not passable on the west side because of downed trees on the road, park spokesperson Kyle Patterson said. The air quality in the park was also hazardous, she said.

The Grand County Office of Emergency Management said it planned to begin assessing the damage Thursday despite what was expected to be another active fire day.

In a video recorded at the entrance to Grand Lake at around 1 a.m., Schroetlin said authorities never expected the fire, which started last week, to grow by 9 square miles (23 square kilometers) an hour. He praised first responders for making some “incredible rescues” and the community for coming together.

“Our community is grand. We are without a doubt. We’re going to get through this together,” he said, some flames visible in the background.

The fire spread north of Grand Lake and nearby Granby in dry trees that had been killed by beetles, Fire Incident Commander Noel Livingston said.

Residents of Granby have been told to be ready to evacuate if the fire spreads closer to the town.

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