Crews keep Rifle-area fire from spreading

Some 150 firefighters and several aircraft today generally checked the further spread of the Highway 13 Fire north of Rifle today.

The fire’s size is now estimated at 991 acres, almost twice the estimated size as of Wednesday evening. However, that’s due not to the fire’s growth, but the fact that firefighters were able to do more accurate mapping.

The fire started just east of Colorado Highway 13 Wednesday afternoon. Authorities aren’t sure what started it but believe it was human-caused because it began so close to the road.

A heavy air tanker, three heavy helicopters and two single-engine air tankers were being used to attack the fire today, and eight smokejumpers also were among the roughly 150 firefighters on the scene.

Management of the Highway 13 Fire transitioned Wednesday night from a local firefighting agency to the federal Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management’s Central Zone, based in Rifle.

Some homes are located in the area of the fire, and it came within about 300 yards of one just after first breaking out. Authorities are actively trying to suppress the fire despite the rugged terrain.

However, as of this evening it remained just 5 percent contained.

No structures have been burned or evacuated due to the fire.


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