The Lodgepole Fire was a prescribed burn set in late April. The goal was to torch dry grasses and brush in an area north of Crouch, to prevent a wildfire from running loose in the forest. But over the weekend, forest managers declared it a wildfire after it failed to burn out by itself.
“When we declared it a wildfire, we’re concerned about people thinking it’s gotten away from us," says Forest Service spokesperson Mike Williamson. "You know, ‘it’s outside the boundary; it’s starting to tear into new country.’ And that’s not the case.”
He says the declaration means they have more resources available to suppress it. There had been about 50 firefighters on the fire; now there are more than 100 along with three helicopters.
“Firefighters are feeling very good about what’s going on on the ground, the progress that they’re making. But we do not have a set date now for full containment.”
In the meantime, people in Crouch are dealing with smoke from the fire. According to the EPA, air quality in the valley is moderate.
Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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