GRAND COUNTY, Colo. — The East Troublesome Fire was 100% contained on Monday, Nov. 30.
The wildfire, which burned 193,812 acres in Grand County, is the second largest in recorded Colorado history.
The cause of the fire, first reported on Oct. 14, still remains under investigation. Investigators believe the origination point was northeast of Kremmling in Arapaho National Forest.
Three days after the fire was first reported, high winds and low humidity allowed the fire to spread to over 10,000 acres. The fire first forced the mandatory evacuation of approximately 90 homes by Oct. 17 after threatening State Highway 125.
Between Oct. 20 and Oct. 23, the East Troublesome Fire spread dramatically, with 24-hour increases of around 18,000 to 87,000 acres during the four-day run, according to fire officials.
The peak fire spread of 87,093 acres occurred between late afternoon on Oct. 21 and the early afternoon of Oct. 22 when the fire exploded from 18,550 acres to 187,964 acres.
It was during this period that a population of over 35,000 in Grand Lake and Estes Park were placed under a mandatory evacuation. More than 7,000 structures were threatened.
Fire officials said the wildfire spread eastward into the Rocky Mountain National Park on Oct. 22, crossing the Continental Divide and reaching the western edge of Estes Park on Oct. 23.
Behind the East Troublesome Fire lines
Fire officials said the East Troublesome Fire was fueled by wide-spread drought, numerous dead and down beetle-killed trees, red flag weather conditions created by high winds and dry conditions and poor humidity recovery overnight.
The combination of these factors led to "unprecedented, wind-driven, active fire behavior with rapid spread during the overnight hours," according to a report from fire incident command.
Relief for firefighters and homeowners came in the form of a winter storm, from Oct. 24 through Oct. 26, which brought very cold temperatures, snow and lighter winds. The storm resulted in a dramatic drop in fire behavior with smoldering and reduced fire spread on both sides of the Continental Divide.
After the winter storm, fire activity remained minimal with little change in area and a final total acreage of 193,812 before full containment on Nov. 30.
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