A combination of weather, terrain, and beetle-killed lodgepole pine contributed to The East Troublesome Fire in Grand County, CO exploding 50,000-acres in size yesterday alone. At 170,163-acres and just 5% contained, the fire crossed the Continental Divide and into Rocky Mountain National Park, resulting in its closure. Fire activity increased substantially in the late afternoon and into the evening yesterday.
The entire town of Grand Lake has been evacuated, and residents in Estes Park are facing a mandatory evacuation. Grand County Sheriff Brett Schroetlin said the fire’s rapid growth caused the “worst of the worst” case scenario. Fears are mounting that the fire could merge with the Cameron Peak Fire, currently the largest fire in Colorado’s history, which is only 10-miles away.
“We planned for the worst. This was the worst of the worst of the worst.”
– Sheriff Brett Schroetlin
Latest satellite info shows increased fire intensity on the #EastTroublesomeFire early this afternoon. The fire has jumped the Continental Divide and is now burning in the upper reaches of Rocky Mountain National Park. #COwx pic.twitter.com/6onPKwCfi4
— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) October 22, 2020
The town of Granby, home to Granby Ranch Ski Area and just 20-miles from Winter Park Resort, has been placed on a pre-evacuation order. Sheriff’s deputies have been going door to door requesting people leave. Several people have already lost their homes to the East Troublesome Fire. There are five people unaccounted for.
Colorado Governor Jared Polis made the National Guard available yesterday morning, but these resources have not yet been on the scene. Nearby Winter Park Resort, which is on closed forest land, has opened up the Vintage Hotel to those needing housing.
Our hearts are hurting for our community. The East Troublesome Fire has had a devastating impact on Grand County. The fire has grown rapidly, damaging homes, local businesses, and thousands of national forest acres. While Winter Park Resort remains away from the fires, we want to do what we can to help Grand County.
To our passionate guests who have asked how they can help, we encourage you to donate to The Grand Foundation. The Grand Foundation has established a Wildfire Emergency Fund to directly help Grand County residents who have been evacuated, displaced, or have lost their homes due to the Grand County wildfires.
To our local community members, we have opened The Vintage Hotel for those who are in need of housing. The Red Cross is coordinating this effort, and we are working closely with them to coordinate food donations as well. Evacuation center workers can help to direct you appropriately.
To our valued employees, we have a number of resources available to you and will work with you directly. Please visit our employment page for more information.
As a result of the wildfire, the Arapaho National Forest is currently closed until further notice. If you are currently in the area or planning to visit soon, you must adhere to all forest closures. This includes the forest land where Winter Park Resort is located. For more information, please visit the US Forest Service website.
For more information and resources regarding the East Troublesome Fire, please visit the Grand County Emergency Management website.
We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all of the firefighters, the Grand County Sheriff’s office, and the many other officials from the local area and other areas for all they are doing to protect our local community and keep us safe. Together, we will get through this.
– Winter Park Resort
One can only hope that the forecast snow set to arrive in the area over the weekend doesn’t let us down. We need that snow more than ever right now, regardless of the upcoming ski season.