Buffalo Mountain Fire in Silverthorne grows to 91 acres, forces evacuation of nearly 1,400 homes


UPDATE 2:20 p.m.: 1,384 residences have been evacuated from the Mesa Cortina and Wildernest neighborhoods above 20 Grand Road, and 1,160 residences are on pre-evacuation notice. Pre-evacuees are not allowed to return to their homes unless it is an emergency. A bus is ferrying evacuees from lower Buffalo Mountain. Silverthorne Recreation Center 430 Rainbow Drive in Silverthorne has been designated a Red Cross emergency center, but no overnight shelter has been established yet. Authorities are asking residents in Lower Buffalo to pack up and be ready. The fire has grown to 91 acres and is continuing to grow.  The county has issued an air quality health notice for wildfire smoke, and smoke is expected to settle into the towns of Silverthorne, Dillon and Frisco by Wednesday morning.

SILVERTHORNE, Colo. – Summit Fire & E.M.S. and the U.S. Forest Service are fighting a wildfire on Buffalo Mountain, west of Silverthorne and north of Frisco.

The fire is currently at 91 acres and growing, said Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons.  The fire is traveling east, downhill, and is currently 250 feet from structures. Evacuations at the top half of Wildernest and Mesa Cortina are in progress. The number of evacuees is unknown at this time, but FitzSimons said the area contains high-density residential development.

Authorities have set up an evacuation shelter at the Silverthorne Recreation Center at 430 Rainbow Drive in Silverthorne. The county urges residents to call the Public Information Hotline for more information: (970) 668-9730. The county also has frequently updated emergency blog at http://www.co.summit.co.us/emergencyblog.

Summit Fire has requested both hand crews and aircraft to assist with the blaze. Aircraft designed to combat wildfire have been deployed to the scene, said deputy district ranger Adam Bianchi. Fire officials said that four heavy air tankers, two very large DC-10 air tankers, a Type 1 helicopter and three Type 1 Strike Team Heavy Engines are on the scene. Air tankers have deployed fire retardant material.

Listen: Interview with Summit County Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons and deputy district ranger Adam Bianchi.

Bianchi said the Forest Service recently did a fuel reduction project in the area, which they hope will stop the fire before it reaches homes.

“We are fighting this with everything,” FitzSimons said.

Currently authorities are not allowing residents up to homes to pick up pets or personal items. The Summit County Animal Control & Shelter has set up a hotline for residents who need help retrieving pets left at homes in the area at (970) 668-4143.

The Silverthorne Recreation Center has been set up for evacuees.

Listen: Joanne Cook from the Silverthorne Recreation Center.

The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control’s multi-mission aircraft is en route to help map out the fire and set up a perimeter. The entire area is a no-drone zone.

Authorities have closed the following trails: North Tenmile, Meadow Creek, Salt Lick, Buffalo mountain, Lily Pad Lake, Mesa Cortina, Willowbrook, and the Gore Creek Trail at Red Buffalo Pass.

Authorities are requesting residents do not call 9-1-1. The public hotline number for updates is (970) 668-9730.

This story will be updated as we receive more information.

Here is a live video from the fire:

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