Morgan Creek fire smolders near Steamboat Springs, air quality issues persist | New

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Air quality advisories continued Thursday for Routt County and surrounding areas as the Morgan Creek fire, burning 15 miles outside of Steamboat Springs, spread.

The 4,297-acre blaze has grown to nearly 1,000 acres since Sunday, when crews flew over for aerial mapping of the blaze, reported InciWeb, a fire information system.

Firefighters saw slower growth and a decrease in smoke and flames on Wednesday thanks to a burst of rain.

About 300 firefighters fought the flames with seven helicopters, InciWeb said.

Four of the helicopters were Type 1, meaning they could carry around 15 firefighters and hold up to 700 gallons of water, according to the National Interagency Fire Center website. The other three helicopters were Type 3, which could carry four to five people and hold up to 180 gallons of water.

Voluntary pre-evacuation notices remained for some residents just west and northwest of the wildfire. No mandatory evacuation was issued Thursday afternoon.

The fire prompted the US Forest Service’s Routt unit to shut down a section of the Continental Divide Trail and trails, roads and campgrounds in the Seedhouse Corridor north of Steamboat Springs. Several forest roads were also closed around the blaze, InciWeb reported.

Authorities have urged hikers, cyclists and others visiting the area to avoid closed sections.

The fire was first reported on the afternoon of July 9, just south of Hinman Park Campground, when Routt County was under Stage I fire restrictions. said they did not know the cause of the Morgan Creek fire.

Several other fires continued to burn around Colorado on Thursday, but they had significant containment of at least 50% or more, officials reported. Large fires burning in the Pacific Northwest have contributed to smoke conditions in Colorado over the past week.

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