Fire at a glance (numbers)

  • Incident Name:
  • State:
  • Lead Agency:
  • Size (acres):
  • Percent Contained:
  • Estimate of Containment:
  • Personnel:
  • Structures Destroyed:

Hayden Pass, Pike & San Isabel NF. Twenty miles southeast of Salida, CO. Timber, heavy logging slash and chaparral. Minimal fire behavior. Road, area and trail closures in effect. Last report unless significant activity occurs.

July 24, 2016 at 10:20 AM

Command of the Hayden Pass Fire was transferred to a Type 3 incident management team lead by Incident Commander, Robert Smith at 6:00 p.m. last night. The base camp and incident command post is now located in Westcliffe at 215 N. 4th St. One large and one small helicopter is supporting the fire from the Salida Airport.

Yesterday afternoon the Type 1(large) K-Max helicopter assisted ground crews with water drops on areas of interior heat well within the perimeter above Rainbow Lake. There were not threats to the containment line.

Today, a masticator and crew members continue creating defensible space around the communication towers near Kerr Gulch. This will provide a buffer from wildfires now and in the future. A masticator grinds up brush and other debris and then redistributes material to help retard erosion in areas susceptible to run-off.

Residents can expect to see smoke columns rising from the wilderness edges of the fire and from unburned islands of vegetation within the interior of the fire. These smoke columns will be most notable in the afternoons and will likely continue until the area receives significant precipitation.

Monsoonal moisture is forecasted to linger through Monday with a chance of afternoon thunderstorms. A 90% chance of wetting rain is predicted for this afternoon. Moisture will gradually decrease with warmer temperatures later in the week.

An interagency Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team was established by the Pike & San Isabel National Forests to begin its burned area survey of the Hayden Pass wildfire that recently burned on federal and private lands. BAER team surveys are rapid assessments of the burned area that evaluate the burned watersheds and determine the potential for increased post-fire flooding, sediment flows, and rock slides.

July 21, 2016 at 7:23 AM

Hayden Pass Fire evacuees from County Road 6 will be allowed re-entry on Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 8:00 am. All residents must register prior to returning home. Residents who still need to register can register at the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office sub station in Cotopaxi until 3:00 pm today.

Please note: It was previously released that residents could register at the Howard County Fire Department, that has been CHANGED to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office sub station in Cotopaxi. The sub station will be staffed tomorrow for any remaining resident that needs to register. Please register as soon as possible.

July 17, 2016 at 9:42 AM


Overnight, a burn out operation along Hayden Creek road treated 30-40 acres to hinder fire growth north of the road. The structural protection group has completed its assessments and protection activities in the valley area.

Evacuation Timeline, per Fremont County Sheriff’s Office Facebook:

· July 11: Mandatory evacuations are in place for people on County Rd. 6 south of County Road 45 as of tomorrow at 7 a.m. County Road 40 was under a mandatory immediate evacuation at 11:10 a.m. Approximately 140 families evacuated. Evacuation points: People- Howard Fire Department; Large animal- Chaffee County Fair Grounds.

· July 14: Fremont County Rd 1A south from Hwy 50 to Hwy 69 is CLOSED in both directions for all vehicle and foot traffic.

July 16, 2016 at 10:15 AM

There is a Red Flag warning today due to relative humidity in the single digits and west-southwest wind gusts up to 30 mph. Warmer and drier weather means firefighters plan for earlier front-line activities along the perimeter. High winds may increase crown fires in treetops along the fire’s south side, in the higher elevations.

Firelines continue to be constructed and improved from Hayden Pass around the fire to Lake Creek. Crews will be reinforcing the line near Hayden Pass by burning out the vegetation between the containment line and the fire perimeter as weather allows. Smoke maybe visible from this burn-out operation. The structural protection group has nearly completed setting up of sprinklers and clearing defensible space around homes. The precautionary radio tower protections will also be completed by midday.

The fire continues to burn in the Sangre De Cristo Wilderness, producing visible smoke that can be seen from nearby communities. A fixed-wing aircraft will provide timely intelligence and will monitor for spot fires in the San Luis Valley

Incident objectives for the Hayden Pass Fire focus on firefighter and public safety as the top priority. The fire managers will ensure all actions are based on the probability of success while minimizing exposure to firefighters and the public. They will minimize the impact to identified values at risk, such as threatened properties, key power and communications utility structures, and endangered species. Wilderness integrity will be maintained by following Agency policy and Land Management Plan guidance. Stakeholder, permittee, cooperator and agency relationships are important, as is providing consistent and timely public information.

July 14, 2016 at 6:59 AM


The fire’s eastern sector changed behavior, responding to shifting winds that became westerly. The northern perimeter of the fire remains 1.5 miles from the town of Coaldale.

Aircraft operations continued into the evening as late as aircrew safety and effective operations would allow. Helicopter water bucket drops will resume tomorrow in the Hayden Creek and Big Cottonwood drainages to bolster the point protection efforts that have been ongoing this week.

Dozers and hand crews continue to build fire lines to minimize the spread of fire on to private property.

Weak monsoonal moisture will begin to move into the area late tomorrow afternoon, bringing small chances of dry thunderstorms. Temperatures will remain in the low 80’s with humidity similar to today.

Crews are actively suppressing the fire outside of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness utilizing structure defense, direct and indirect fire control strategies. Helicopters and a VLAT are being used to support these strategies. Firefighting resources are shifted as priorities are completed and new risks are prioritized. Firefighters will continue to suppress the fire using resources and tactics to minimize firefighter risk with the highest probability of success.

The fire continues to burn in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. Crews are not currently engaging the fire within the wilderness due to complex terrain causing safety concerns; rather, they will closely monitor fire movement and assist Forest Service staff by informing recreationists of area closures.

Contact the Fremont and Custer County Sheriffs for up-to-date information about evacuation notices.

A public meeting to inform citizens about current and expected fire suppression operations will be held at the Custer County East Gym at 2:00 pm today. Doors open at 1:30.


The Hayden Pass Fire, located 3 miles southwest of Coaldale, Colorado; started as a lightning strike on July 8th. Fire crews searched for smoke over the weekend but were unable to pin point its location in the rugged terrain of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness. Smoke from this fire reappeared on Sunday, July 10th, just after 2:00 p.m.; by 10:00 p.m. the fire had grown to over 5,000 acres. Strong winds, dry conditions and the large volume of dead woody debris in the area contributed to this rapid growth.

A Type 2 incident management team, Rocky Mountain Incident Management Blue Team, will assume command of this fire at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 12th. The incident commander for this team is Jay Esperance.

The Rocky Mountain Incident Management Team Blue is ordered and will assume command at 6:00 AM on Tuesday, July 12th.

Fuels: The fire is burning in mixed conifer, beetle-killed spruce, and heavy dead and down fuels.

Resources: Multiple agencies are on scene and additional resources are en route.

Road closures: Fremont County Road 6 is closed west of Highway 50. Fremont County Road 40 is closed west of Highway 50.

Current actions: Provide for life safety and provide point protection as possible.

Notice: Evacuation orders have increased. Please see the Fremont County Sheriff’s Facebook page for official evacuation information The Sheriff’s Office is working quickly to conduct safe evacuations.