Motorists need to be mindful of fire danger in Colorado

Image courtesy of campoutcolorado.com
Colorado Department of Transportation logo

Tamara Rollison, CDOT Communications Manager

Know before you go and take precautions when heading out to the mountains and vacation destinations

Denver, CO – With the high temperatures and dry weather, the fire danger is high to extreme in most areas of Colorado. Motorists need to be extra vigilant and cautious when driving to the high country.

There are eight fires in the state.  The hardest hit is southwestern Colorado where the San Juan National Forest is closed due to wild fires.

Southwestern region:

The 416 Fire in the San Juan National Forest  is ten miles south of Durango and is burning on the west side of US 550.  The road is closed nightly between Durango and Silverton from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. The road is open daily 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., with traffic escorted by a pilot car.

The Burro Fire in San Juan National Forest is burning west of the 416 Fire.

The Horse Park Fire is nearly contained, located northwest of the Burro and 416 fires.

Near the I-70 Mountain Corridor:

Buffalo Mountain Fire is two miles west of Silverthorne in Summit County.

The Bocco Fire is burning two miles north of Wolcott in Eagle County.

Northern Colorado/Wyoming border:

The Badger Creek Fire has resulted in several road closures in Wyoming and Colorado.  CO 127 is closed from the CO 125 junction to the Wyoming state line. Only local traffic has access.

Southeastern region:

The Natty Fire southwest of Colorado Springs has been contained.

Safety tips for driving in fire zones:

 

  • In an active fire zone (in the event traffic may be allowed through) motorists are warned that there is no stopping, parking, or standing outside of vehicles along the highway shoulder.

 

  • If traffic is being guided through a fire area, you must follow the pilot vehicle and line of traffic. Do not stop.

 

  • Should you encounter smoke from a wildfire while on the road, drive with lights on low beam. High beams will reflect back off the smoke and can reduce your visibility even more. Look out for slow-moving and parked vehicles. Other cars may be traveling slowly due to reduced visibility. Emergency vehicles may be parked along the side of the road. Increase the distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you. Don’t rush or speed to get out of the smoke.  If you’re having trouble seeing the roadway, use the right edge of the pavement or the painted edge line stripe as a guide.

 

  • Observe “Red Flag” fire weather warnings. These warnings are issued when weather conditions are conducive to the easy start and rapid spread of wildfires.

 

Spark-proof your vehicle and yourself!

  • When pulling a trailer, attach safety chains securely. Loose chains can drag on the pavement and cause sparks, igniting roadside fires.

  • Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained, with nothing dragging on the ground.

 

  • Check your tire pressure because driving on exposed wheel rims can throw sparks.

 

  • Maintain your brakes because brakes worn too thin may cause metal to metal contact, which can cause a spark.

 

  • Carry a fire extinguisher in your vehicle and learn how to use it.

 

  • Avoid driving or parking your vehicle onto dry grass or brush.  Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires.

 

  • Look behind you before driving away from fire-sensitive locations such as campsites to check for signs of a developing fire.

 

  • Never throw a lighted cigarette out of a vehicle.

Know before you go:

 

  • Check out road conditions and fire warnings before getting in your vehicle so you can avoid danger areas.  Go to Cotrip.org for the latest road conditions and closures.

 

  • You can also call 511 from anywhere in the state to get road condition information.

 

 

  • Local residents should follow the agency in command of the fire in their area (federal, state or county websites and social media)

 

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