The Williams Fork Fire, seven miles southwest of Fraser, Colorado, started near the Henderson Mill on August 14th and quickly grew due to high winds, steep slopes, and dense fuels.
Working with long term fire behavior analysts, foresters and other natural resource specialists, Williams Fork firefighters successfully contained the southwest flank along County Roads 3 and 30, and the Williams Fork River, preventing damage to the Henderson Mill. On the north and east flanks, firefighters improved roads and other natural features to create defensive lines to protect the communities of Fraser, Tabernash, and Winter Park.
Recent cool temperatures and snow have resulted in minimal fire behavior, and have reduced the chance for fire growth. However, as temperatures fluctuate, the public should expect to see smoke from within the fire area as pockets of fuel continue to burn. The fire is expected to burn until sustained wetting rain or snow extinguishes it.
There are no evacuation orders or pre-evacuation notices in effect as of September 9, 2020. However, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office encourages all residents to be prepared for future emergencies, by signing up to receive emergency notifications for CodeRed alerts.
The area immediately surrounding the fire remains under a closure order. Williams Fork Fire Closure Order
The fire is burning within Game Management Unit 28. Hunters holding licenses in game management units impacted by the fire may be able to request a refund and reinstatement of preference points used to draw the license. For updated hunting from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, visit cpw.state.co.us.
The Fire is under investigation
Trained fire investigators have determined that the Williams Fork Fire started by human activity, but the specific cause is not yet known.
If the public has any information, images or video of the area that may be helpful to the investigation, please email them to SM.FS.firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can also be shared by calling 307-745-2392, selecting option 5, and leaving a name and phone number so law enforcement can return the call.
Investigating wildland fires is a legal process that requires the fire cause to remain confidential until the process is complete.
Date of Origin:
Friday August 14th, 2020 approx. 11:43 AM
9.5 miles SW of Fraser, CO
Ed Leblanc ICT3/Chad Buser ICT3(T)
Estimated Containment Date:
Friday October 30th, 2020 approx. 12:00 AM
Timber (Litter and Understory)
Primary driver of fire behavior is the lodgepole-spruce-fir stands that have heavy mortality. These stands have abundant lofted dead fuels, and an understory of young conifers. The other primary fuel is mostly intact dense spruce-fir stands with little mortality.
Patrol and monitor.
Projected Incident Activity:
12 hours: Partly cloudy with a high of 70 degrees. Chance of thunderstorms and gusty winds. Continued increase of fire behavior is anticipated.
24 hours: Partly cloudy with a minimum temperature of 43 degrees, maximum humidity of 65%.Expected Southwest winds 12-18 mph.
48 hours: Mostly sunny with a high of 68 degrees. West winds gusting to 20 mph after 1100.
72 hours: Mostly clear with chance of thunderstorms
Anticipated after 72 hours: Partly cloudy with chance of thunderstorms
Due to steep rugged terrain and dead and dying trees caused by Bark Beetle, indirect fire line tactics are being utilized. Natural barriers such as avalanche chutes, rock screes, high elevation alpine tundra ridges, previous fuel treatment areas, recent burn scars, and wet drainages have been identified to slow the fires' spread. Bottle Pass, Saint Louis Pass, Fraser Experimental Forest (FEF) Headquarters and the Denver Water buildings located in the Bobtail drainage have been identified as areas of point zone protection. Fuels mitigation and placement of water handling equipment have been completed around the structures in both the FEF Headquarters.
A weak disturbance will move across the region on Saturday which will bring a slight chance of afternoon and evening thunderstorms.
Storms will be more high based with low if any rainfall expected,wind gusts expected to be 40 mph with showers. Drier conditions are to be expected on Sunday, with gusty winds 20 mph. An influx of
moisture will bring an increase chance for showers Monday through Wednesday.
Public Information Line
Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Mon.- Fri.
Fire Unit Information
Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland
U.S. Forest Service
2150 Centre Avenue Building E
Fort Collins, CO 80526