The Williams Fork Fire, seven miles southwest of Fraser, Colorado, started near the Henderson Mill on August 14th and quickly grew due to high winds, steep slopes, and dense fuels.
Working with long term fire behavior analysts, foresters and other natural resource specialists, Williams Fork firefighters successfully contained the southwest flank along County Roads 3 and 30, and the Williams Fork River, preventing damage to the Henderson Mill. On the north and east flanks, firefighters improved roads and other natural features to create defensive lines to protect the communities of Fraser, Tabernash, and Winter Park.
Recent cool temperatures and snow have resulted in minimal fire behavior, and have reduced the chance for fire growth. However, as temperatures fluctuate, the public should expect to see smoke from within the fire area as pockets of fuel continue to burn. The fire is expected to burn until sustained wetting rain or snow extinguishes it.
There are no evacuation orders or pre-evacuation notices in effect as of September 9, 2020. However, the Grand County Sheriff’s Office encourages all residents to be prepared for future emergencies, by signing up to receive emergency notifications for CodeRed alerts.
Forest Closure Order remains in effect
The Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests also implemented a Forest Closure Order that affects roads, recreation areas, trailheads and campgrounds. This entire area remains closed to the public, including walk-in traffic.
- Roads: Co Rd 30, Co Rd 50 starting at Young Life, Forest Service Roads 133, 134.1, 137, 138, 139, 148, 259 & all roads within Forest closure area.
- Forest Service Trailheads: Lower Creekside, St. Louis Creek, Leland Creek, St. Louis Lake, Byers Peak, Deadhorse, South Fork, Williams Fork, Darling Creek, Ute Peak, Lake Evelyn, Kinney Creek, Vasquez Peak, Keyser Ridge, Jones Pass, Elk Meadows, Mt. Nystrom, Boardwalk, Twin Bridges, and all trails within Forest closure area.
- Forest Service Campgrounds: South Fork, Sugarloaf, Horseshoe, St. Louis Creek
Visit fs.usda.gov/arp for Forest Service area closure details.
The fire is burning within Game Management Unit 28. Hunters holding licenses in game management units impacted by the fire may be able to request a refund and reinstatement of preference points used to draw the license. For updated hunting from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, visit cpw.state.co.us.
The Fire is under investigation
Trained fire investigators have determined that the Williams Fork Fire started by human activity, but the specific cause is not yet known.
If the public has any information, images or video of the area that may be helpful to the investigation, please email them to SM.FS.firstname.lastname@example.org. Information can also be shared by calling 307-745-2392, selecting option 5, and leaving a name and phone number so law enforcement can return the call.
Investigating wildland fires is a legal process that requires the fire cause to remain confidential until the process is complete.
A map of evacuation areas is located online.
National Wildfire Coordination Group – Williams Fork Fire page:
Grand County Office of Emergency Management webpage:
source: SOUTHWEST INCIDENT MANAGEMENT TEAM #3 Williams Fork Fire
Size: Approximately 6,627 acres
Location: SW of Fraser, Colorado
Incident Commander: Dave Gesser
Media Information: (970) 445-4941
Email: 2020.WilliamsFork@firenet.govContainment: 0%Cause: Human Caused
Total Personnel: Approximately 192 with additional resources arriving
Notifications: Sign up for CodeRed at http://www.gcemergency.com
Public Information Line: 970-445-2910 open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Media Phone Line: 970-445-4941 open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.