Update: As of Friday morning, the evacuation order for homes near the Red Canyon Fire has been lifted. The fire is now 75% contained and several engines and two SEATs have been released from duty.
Though the plume of smoke that shrouded the lower Valley on Monday evening has mostly dissipated, the Red Canyon Fire continues to burn along the flank of Lookout Mountain. For newcomers to the area, it’s an unnerving welcome to the arid West. For longtime locals, it dredges up not-to-distant memories of 2002’s Coal Seam fire, which torched more than ten thousand acres and at least two dozen homes, and 1994’s Storm King fire, which claimed the lives of fourteen firefighters.
At an estimated 390 acres, the Red Canyon Fire has not yet approached the severity of either. After it’s initial flare up from 15 to 150 acres on Monday evening, the fire progressed fitfully, making short runs through mixed pinyon-juniper with islands of sage. Containment is at 27%, with about 100 personnel; two helicopters, two single engine and two heavy air tankers; and roughly 20 engines assigned to fight the fire. Although resources have been difficult to obtain due to other fires across the west, the Rocky Mountain Area Incident Management Team A has been assigned to Red Canyon, and took command Wednesday at 6 am MST.
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