NORWOOD – As of Thursday at 7 p.m., close to 120 firefighters are continuing to gain control of the Grammar Fire approximately five miles northwest of Norwood. Crews now have the blaze 35 percent contained and are working to secure a line around its perimeter and residents that had been evacuated are now able to return to their homes.
The fire was sparked on Tuesday, July 15 by an apparent lightning strike and has burned south covering 801 acres of dry land. Firefighters will continue to work to hold and secure the line on the south and east flanks, and construct a line to keep the fire out of the San Miguel Canyon. They expect full containment by Friday evening. A Type 2 firefighting team that had been called in to help manage the fire has been cancelled.
Officials said earlier on Thursday that the fire had burned 887 acres of land but with more accurate mapping, they say the fire has burned 801 acres.
While no structures have been lost, the Montrose County Sheriff’s Office evacuated approximately 20 homes in the Deer Mesa subdivision and the Maverick Draw area on Wednesday. By Thursday evening, those evacuated from their homes in the Deer Mesa and Maverick Draw areas are being told it is safe to go back to their homes, as the threat to structures is greatly reduced.
Erin Curtis, public information officer for the BLM, said on Wednesday that there are three hotshot crews, three to four bulldozers, six wildland engine crews, and at least 10 local fire department engines working in the area. Crews are also receiving help from several air resources including four heavy air tankers, two single engine air tankers and two helicopters.
Fire crews worked overnight on Tuesday to build a line around the southeast flank of the fire where the homes are located. Curtis said hot and dry weather in the area on Tuesday would continue on Wednesday.
“The weather forecast is the same as it was yesterday – hot and dry with erratic winds in the afternoon,” Curtis said. “The pinon juniper and sage in the area are both very dry. The vegetation is very dry. The terrain is very steep and that could have an impact on the fire activity.
The Abundant Life Church in Norwood and the San Miguel Basin Church in Redvale have been designated as shelters, which are available to local evacuees.
The Western Colorado Disaster Relief was called into action at 7 p.m. on Tuesday evening with a need for water, ice, food, and snacks at the relief stations for the crews in Redvale.
The public can call the fire information line for updates at 970/240-1070.