June 16 Ward Gulch Fire Update

Due to more accurate mapping of the fire area, officials have now adjusted the total area burned by the Ward Gulch Fire up to 682 acres.  The size of the fire has not changed significantly, just the mapping method, making the size estimate more accurate.  They say the fire remains 15% contained, but it has not crossed State Highway 325, which would have triggered the transition to a Type-2 Incident Management Team from the Type-3 team which is currently managing the fire.

Some structures remain threatened, including 12 homes and 25 outbuildings.  Incident Commander, Jeff Berino, says he is more concerned about the effects of the fire on riparian areas near Rifle Falls State Park and the Rifle Creek Watershed than he is about losing structures at this time.  Nevertheless, all evacuation orders remain in place, along State Highway 325 from Grass Valley Road (226) to it’s termination at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Fish Hatchery.  Rifle Mountain Park and Rifle Gap State Park are also closed.

Aircraft will likely continue dropping retardant and water on the fire throughout Sunday and the roughly 200 firefighters on the ground will continue to try and increase their containment.  The fire continues to move mostly northeast.