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Terrain, dead trees impacting Horsefly Fire efforts

More than 20 homes were evacuated
Posted: 6:59 PM, Aug 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-08-06 20:59:28-04
Horsefly Fire.jpeg

The Horsefly Fire near Lincoln burned 500 acres of land in a matter of minutes.

The wildfire started around 1:30 p.m. on August 5 and is roughly eight miles east of Lincoln.

The fire is burning rapidly behind the Black Diamond Fire near Flesher Pass, but the damage does not stop there.

Fire crews are continuing their efforts to suppress and limit the fire's spread.

The fire caused more than 20 evacuations in the Flesher Pass area, and caused the Continental Divide Trail to be rerouted. Flesher Pass is also closed to cyclists.

Jeni Garcin, Public Information Officer for Incident Management, said, “Big concern right now is people that are traveling on Flesher and hindering crews as they're trying to move in and out of there, so we are really asking people to avoid Flesher Pass if they can."

Tuesday’s efforts utilized air resources, including airtankers and helicopters.

Ground crews were working to find access to the fire, but the terrain and forest health has proven difficult.

Many trees have died as a result from beetle kill, which caused the wood to become dry and brittle and poses a significant threat to firefighters.

Lincoln District Ranger, Michael Stansberry, told MTN News, “Over the past years, that dead-standing has started to fall to the ground and creates quite a bit of field load. Especially on the ground so when a fire moves through, not only does it have the opportunity to reach those big logs, and create a lot of momentum, with that but it also reaches up into the dead trees that are still standing and we get what are called 'crown fires' that move really fast because they get picked up by the wind.”

There is concern that firefighting efforts could be hindered by the expected weather forecast.

A public meeting for the Horsefly Fire was set for Tuesday, August 6 at 6 p.m. The meeting is at the Canyon Creek Rural Fire District Station located at 7560 Duffy Lane.