Beset by drought, 90-degree days, gusty winds and dry lightning, firefighters working to corral the second largest wildfire in Colorado history reported their first progress in weeks Thursday.
Containment on the Pine Gulch fire, which has burned 124,934 acres by Friday, north of Grand Junction since it was started by lightning on July 31, is at 17%, the U.S. Forest Service said. It had been at 7% for more than a week.
The estimated acreage also was lowered by about 4,000 acres after the incident team was able to get a better look at the fire from the air.
While the fire has continued spreading in juniper/pinyon stands and sagebrush flats, it has caused little damage in the sparsely populated area.
With no change in the weather, firefighters were expecting tough days ahead.
"The combination of extremely dry fuels, low relative humidity, high temperatures, and terrain driven winds may continue to create extreme fire behavior that is resistant to suppression efforts," the Forest Service said.
Grizzly Creek fire
The human-caused fire east of Glenwood Springs grew to 29,992 acres Friday afternoon, with containment at 11%, the Forest Service said.
More than 800 firefighters assisted by 17 helicopters, are fighting the blaze, which broke out Aug. 10.
Interstate 70 between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum remained closed.
A new fire broke out nearby Wednesday, but was quickly brought under control. The Red Canyon fire was contained at 60 acres.
Gusty winds and dry lightning posed risks for firefighters with temperatures in the 90s.
Williams Fork fire
The Williams Fork fire, burning southwest of Fraser, grew to 10,288 acres as of Friday afternoon.
"Driven by strong winds, low relative humidity and dead timber, the Williams Fork Fire grew 2,731 acres (Wednesday), spreading to the south and southeast," the Forest Service posted.
Containment is at 3% with some hope that rain forecast for Thursday would increase that. More than 200 firefighters are fighting the blaze.
Cameron Peak fire
The wildfire west of Fort Collins grew to 16,602 acres, with containment remaining at zero percent and 646 personnel fighting it, according to the Forest Service.