To Report a Wildfire, Call 9-1-1.
DO NOT PUT YOURSELF IN DANGER TO PROVIDE THIS INFORMATION! Try to provide the following information if it is available: location (as specific as possible), smoke color, smoke direction, size of fire area (if possible), flame height (if possible).
Current Fire Danger in Gunnison County
(Note: See the bottom of the page for danger-level descriptions.)
Mill Creek Fire - Updated 8/19/2020 at 3:01 pm
The Mill Creek Fire is actively burning in grass and brush intermixed with aspen. There are currently 50 firefighters working in steep rugged terrain. The fire crossed the Mill Creek trail overnight due to spotting. Firefighters will continue to work to keep the fire in the Mill Creek drainage and hold containment lines.
Due to the fire’s location on National Forest System lands the following closure will be enacted immediately:
- National Forest System Trail (NFST) #450 Mill Castle Trail, from the trailhead at the western terminus of NFSR #727, westward approximately 7.6 miles to Storm Pass.
This closure is being enacted in the interest of public health and safety. The public’s patience and understanding is greatly appreciated on this manner. For questions concerning this emergency closure please call the Gunnison Ranger District at 970-642-4425.
There are no structures threatened or values at risk at this time. Firefighter and public safety will remain the priorities on this incident; therefore, the public is asked to avoid the area to ongoing fire operations.
- Cause: Unknown
- Location: 12 miles northwest of Gunnison, west of Cunningham Reservoir and National Forest Service Road (NFSR) #727
- Size: Approximately 5 acres
- Threatened Structures: 0
- Vegetation: Grass, brush and aspen
- Resources: Smokejumpers, 2 engine modules, Type I Helicopter
- Total Personnel: 50
- Fire Behavior: Creeping and smoldering with isolated tree torching
- Alerts: Red Flag Warning in effect from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. due to predicted dry thunderstorms and wind gusts up to 25 mph.
- Closures: NFST #450 – Mill Castle Trail
- Weather: Mostly sunny with isolated showers and scattered dry thunderstorms possible in the afternoon. Wind gusts up to 25 mph expected.
- Public Health Info: Smokey conditions will persist in the area due to other fires across Colorado affecting overall air quality and smoke in the area. For a detailed daily air quality summary for the Gunnison River Basin Smoke Outlook please visit:
- https://wildlandfiresmoke.net/outlooks/GunnisonRiverBasin Wildfire fire smoke may affect your health. For more information see: https://www.colorado.gov/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health.
Gunnison County will be going into Stage 1 Fire Restrictions at 12:01 am on Thursday, August 20, 2020, as will the GMUG, BLM Gunnison District and NPS. This action was authorized by Resolution #2020-29. View the Stage 1 poster for more information.
The White River National Forest (Marble / Upper Crystal River Valley area) is in Stage 2 fire restrictions. (Gunnison County lands on the north side of McClure Pass are in the White River National Forest.)
General Fire Reminders
- Gunnison County Burn Ordinance (PDF) requires persons igniting controlled burns or open fires (excludes recreational campfires) in unincorporated parts of the county to contact the Gunnison Communications Center at 970-641-8000 before beginning.
- Open fires are not permitted in the town or city limits of Crested Butte and Gunnison.
- In Mt. Crested Butte open fires are only permitted in puts, barrels, or similar containers.
- Clear flammable material away from campfires.
- Before lighting a fire check the current fire restriction information.
- Put out your campfire with water before you leave and make sure the ashes are cool to the touch.
- Never leave a campfire unattended for any reason.
- Contain campfires within existing fire rings or rock structures.
- YOUR campfire is YOUR responsibility.
- Fireworks are not allowed on any federal lands.
- Review the Gunnison County Burn Ordinance (PDF).
- View the videos for understanding the Fire Restriction Stages.
Fire Restriction & Wildfire Information Websites:
- West Slope Fire Information
- Colorado Fire Bans & Restrictions
- Colorado Map Restrictions (Interactive Map, click on shaded areas for more information)
- Colorado DFPC Current Wildfires (Interactive Map - click on blue markers for more information)
- Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control (DFPC)
- Inciweb (National)
- Colorado Fire Bans & Current Fires (COEmergency.com - Compiled Information)
- Live Fire Web App
Red Flag Warning
A Red Flag Warning means no open burning. Please refer to Ordinance #16: An Ordinance Authorizing the Identification of "Red Flag" Fire Days (PDF).
For information on Red Flag Warnings check the National Weather Service forecast page for the Gunnison area. If a Red Flag Warning is in effect it will be listed under Hazardous Weather Outlook on the Gunnison area forecast page. Red Flag Warning information may also be obtained by calling the following:
- Gunnison Regional Communications Center - 970-641-8200 - Option 1
- Montrose Interagency Dispatch Center - 970-249-1010
Absolutely no fireworks of any type are permitted on Federal or State lands, including;
- BLM Lands
- Division of Wildlife Owned Lands
- National Forests & Parks
- State Forests & Parks
- State Wildlife Areas
In unincorporated Gunnison County, the towns of Crested Butte, Mt. Crested Butte, and the City of Gunnison, fireworks that leave the ground or explode are prohibited.
Fire officials from local, State, and Federal Agencies meet regularly to review the situation in Gunnison County and will initiate appropriate measures when and if necessary. For additional information contact the appropriate agency.
It is normally very dry in the Gunnison Basin and extreme care should be exercised when using fire anywhere in the County, whether for burning weeds, slash piles, or for camping. Make sure you have the appropriate fire suppression tools and supplies readily available when starting a fire. Also, ensure that you have in place a suitable buffer between a fire and potential combustibles. Finally, make sure you use it in a safe, responsible manner.
Fire Danger Level Descriptions
- Fuels do not ignite readily from small firebrands, although a more intense heat source such as lightning may start many fires in duff or punky wood.
- Fires in open cured grassland may burn freely a few hours after rain, but woods fire spread slowly by creeping or smoldering, and burn in irregular fingers.
- There is little danger of spotting.
- Fires can start from most accidental causes, but with the exception of lightning fires in some areas, the number of starts is generally low.
- Fires in open-cured grassland will burn briskly and spread rapidly on windy days. Wood fires spread slowly to moderately fast.
- The average fire is of moderate intensity, although heavy concentrations of fuel, especially draped fuel, may burn hot. Short-distance spotting may occur, but is not persistent.
- Fires are not likely to become serious, and control is relatively easy.
- All fine dead fuels ignite readily and fires start easily from any cause.
- Unattended brush and campfires are likely to escape.
- Fires spread rapidly and short-distance spotting is common.
- High intensity burning may develop on slopes, or in concentrations of fine fuel.
- Fire may become serious and their control difficult unless they are hit hard and fast while small.
- Fires under extreme conditions start quickly, spread furiously and burn intensely.
- All fires are potentially serious.
- Development into high intensity burning will usually be faster and occur from smaller fires than in the high danger class.
- Direct attack is rarely possible and may be dangerous, except immediately after ignition.
- Fires that develop headway in heavy slash or in conifer stands may be unmanageable while the extreme burning conditions last. Under these conditions, the only effective and safe control action is on the flanks until the weather changes, or the fuel supply lessens.