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Old 08-09-2020, 10:52 AM   #1
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Forest fires in Colorado

The Pine Gulch fire, located North of Grand Junction, Colorado, erupted over the last few days and is now blowing smoke eastward into the mountain valleys. We are located on the eastern side of the mountains and the smoke made it's way to us this morning!

So far it is light smoke but it very well may get worse. August in the mountains means fire, from Colorado to Idaho and all points West. This year it has been quiet and clear up to this week for us. But now there are several fires erupting up and down the Front Range. It will probably become more smokey and stay that way until Autumn rains or snows. The snow will hit the high peaks by mid September. Right now Colorado is very dry. The monsoonal rains that flow to us from Mexico every August have not started here yet. They probably will soon. That may help but they are also known to start fires.

If you have respiratory issues and are traveling to Colorado, you may want to keep an eye on this year's fires.
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Old 08-14-2020, 03:06 PM   #2
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This is a really good time to avoid Colorado (IMHO). The Pine Creek fire, outside of Grand Junction, has more than doubled in size and the air quality can be bad. The Grizzly Creek fire of Glenwood Springs, has shut down I-70 and the traffic is being diverted well beyond the close detours like Independence pass, which is now closed. So is Cottonwood pass.

CO-14 outside of Fort Collins is also closed up by Chambers lake due to fire. So Trail Ridge road, the highest continuous road in the lower 48, seems to be open, so is Berthoud pass and CO-9. Air quality throughout the state is hit or miss. The humidity was down to 7% earlier this morning. Fire season just started roaring.

Here is the notice on R.M.N.P. website.
Reservations required to enter Rocky Mountain National Park

Alert 1 , Severity ,closure ,,Reservations required to enter Rocky Mountain National ParkA timed entry permit or camping reservation is required to enter ALL areas of Rocky Mountain National Park—including Trail Ridge Road (US Hwy 34)—when arriving by vehicle between the hours of 6 am and 5 pm.

This is a really good time to avoid I-70 and maybe even a good portion of the state, until we get rain.

Here is a link to COTRIP.com. A good place to check for local road conditions throughout the state.

https://www.cotrip.org/home.htm
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Old 08-14-2020, 04:09 PM   #3
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RMNP has enacted Stage 2 fire restrictions. Not only no campfires anywhere, but no charcoal cooking, and no smoking except on pavement. Camp stoves powered by petroleum products are OK but must have a shutoff valve (ie. no Sterno).

They are getting serious because it is serious. A useful rain may be as much as a month away.

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Old 08-14-2020, 04:48 PM   #4
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Driving update: CDOT recommends drivers going between Denver and Grand Junction use a combination of U.S. 285 and U.S. 50 as an alternative to I-70.
This takes you over Monarch Pass - Salida to Gunnison - on a modern paved road with a climbing lane. It is the only reasonable alternative between Denver and Grand Junction. And most of the minor jeep roads - that won't accommodate a trailer - are being blocked by authorities.
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Old 08-14-2020, 05:17 PM   #5
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I can hardly believe this.
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Old 08-14-2020, 07:18 PM   #6
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Wow.

On the way to LA in 2018, we were at the Glenwood Springs KOA. Our neighbor was a volunteer fire fighter. He had a telescope and was watching the mountains. He spotted a lightning strike that started a fire and called it in.

On the way back we saw a train go by and spark a grass fire. Many cars pulled over and they were working to put out the fire.

This is different to us. Here in southern Ontario, we don't get forest fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, really only the odd tornado every 20 years.
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Old 08-14-2020, 07:53 PM   #7
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Following: I'm scheduled to head to Loveland / Boulder for Labor day weekend to see my 88 YO mother. Planning to travel via I-80 > Laramie > 287. Taking my 5.0 so my sister and I can be an isolated family unit during the visit. Hopefully things will have calmed down by then.

Wishing safety and rain for all the firefighters on the front lines!
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Old 08-14-2020, 10:31 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I can hardly believe this.
Saw pics yesterday of the traffic snarl on Independence Pass (now closed), and heard from a friend of a friend at Twin Lakes (near Leadville) that someone routing themselves with GPS had to be rescued after trying to cross at Hagerman Pass. ("A jeep trail.")

Cottonwood is also supposedly closed, although I have friends who are camping nearby that said the sign didn't indicate the closure yesterday. We were supposed to be up there this week with our friends, but...
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Old 08-15-2020, 08:44 AM   #9
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Mary F: There are at least two Cottonwood Passes in Colorado. I understand that the Cottonwood Pass between (near) Carbondale and (near) Eagle is closed. The more well known Cottonwood Pass between Buena Vista & Taylor Reservoir is opened.
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Old 08-15-2020, 08:45 AM   #10
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The state just closed 300,000 acres in Roosevelt National Forest (our forest). They are asking everyone to stay away. The fire doubled overnight and it is so dangerous they cannot get on the ground to fight it. Everything is from air drops.

A semi flipped over on Cottonwood pass (in Eagle, now closed), trying to use it instead of I-70. I heard there was another semi on Independence pass, which is beyond stupid. It was trucks and RV's getting stuck on Independence pass where the road goes down to 1 and 1/2 lanes that closed it. Map apps are causing people to make huge mistakes. They are blindly following them and getting in trouble. You cannot do that here.

Roosevelt National Forest starts around I-70 and goes to the Wyoming state line. I would avoid I-70 and try I-80 or go South.

Things are only going to get worse too! Usually the high peaks get their first dusting of snow around Sept.12 or so. But if Indian Summer kicks in, it could be October before we get good rain.
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Old 08-15-2020, 08:54 AM   #11
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Here's the link for closure(s) in Roosevelt Nat'l Forest west of Fort Collins, Colorado:

https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/arp/n...d=FSEPRD780852
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Old 08-15-2020, 09:11 AM   #12
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Mary F: There are at least two Cottonwood Passes in Colorado. I understand that the Cottonwood Pass between (near) Carbondale and (near) Eagle is closed. The more well known Cottonwood Pass between Buena Vista & Taylor Reservoir is opened.
Ah. That explains it! Thanks. I will let my friends know.
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