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Release Date: 08/14/12
Contacts: Chris Barth, Public Information Officer    
  Montrose Interagency Fire Management Unit    
  Phone: 970.240.5317 (o)    

Weather Conditions Favorable on East Coal Creek Fire (08-14-12)

Gunnison, Colo. – Today, cooler weather helped to moderate fire behavior on the East Coal Creek Fire. The fire, located on National Forest System lands in the West Elk Wilderness, is currently 141 acres. Fire managers were able to fly over the fire this afternoon to better assess the fire’s behavior and size. During the reconnaissance, it was determined that the East Coal Creek Fire had burned into what was the West Elk Fire (2008). The cooler weather, combined with the fire burning into an area that has already been impacted by fire, resulted in less fire activity throughout the day. Nonetheless, smoke was visible along Hwy 50 and in the Soap Creek drainage as the fire continued to burn in heavy forest litter.

The fire was started by lightning on Friday, August 10th and remained relatively small until warmer weather and strong winds caused the fire to grow on Sunday afternoon. Weather in the fire area today was in the mid- to upper 60’s with scattered rain showers in the afternoon. Tomorrow’s weather is expected to be in the upper 70’s to lower 80’s. A chance of showers will continue from the morning hours tomorrow and will last into the afternoon. 

The additional resources that arrived to the fire today will begin working on securing the fire perimeter in East Coal Creek tomorrow. Smoke may continue to be visible in the area over the next several days and is expected to be variable depending on the weather conditions and fuel load within the fire’s perimeter. Additional updates will be provided should conditions change significantly.

East Coal Creek Fire Statistics:
Location:               17 miles west of Gunnison, CO                             Reported:           August 10, 5:18 p.m.
Size:                      141 acres                                                             Cause:                                  Lightning                             
Resources:          One Type 2 helicopter, one Type 1 hand crew, and overhead personnel

For information on wildfires and restrictions in the area, call the MIFMU Fire Information line (970.240.1070), visit the MIFMU website (, or follow us on Twitter ( and Facebook (

The Montrose Interagency Fire Management Unit covers the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre, and Gunnison National Forest (USFS), the Gunnison Field Office (BLM), the Uncompahgre Field Office (BLM), Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park (NPS), Curecanti National Recreation Area (NPS), and public lands in the counties of Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel. 

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  650 S 11th Street      Gunnison, CO 81230  

Last updated: 08-14-2012