171 firefighters, 11 engines assigned to Hayden Pass Fire

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It's unclear if this high-tech firefighting aircraft has played a role in the Hayden Pass fire.
  • It's unclear if this high-tech firefighting aircraft has played a role in the Hayden Pass fire.
The Hayden Pass Fire has grown to more than 12,000 acres and a Type 2 firefighting team was assigned to take over management of the fire this morning at 6 a.m. Type 2 is the next step down from Type 1, which is the label for the nation's most elite and well-equipped firefighting groups.

The fire has fewer than 200 firefighters assigned as of Tuesday morning.

The national incident management website gives this description of the fire, which is believed to have started last Friday from a lightning strike about 20 miles southeast of Salida.

The Hayden Pass Fire continues to grow as the fire was active throughout the night. New estimates put the fire at 7,500 acres.
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.
Esperance is fresh off the Beaver Creek fire of last month, as reported by the U.S. Forest Service.

If you want to see how this fire compares to others currently burning in the west, check out this chart.

In this report, you'll find the resources assigned to the fire, which hasn't been reported in detail so far. This report shows 171 firefighters are battling the Hayden Pass Fire, with 11 engines and three helicopters assigned.

Officials describe the fire this way: "Extreme fire behavior with crowning, running and spotting. Structures threatened. Evacuations, road, area and trail closures in effect."

The Rocky Mountain Area Coordination Center — which covers five states — has the most firefighters assigned of any area in the country at the moment, according to this report. It also has the most engines, as you can see from this chart.

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As a footnote, there's been no mention so far about what, if any, role is being played by the state's new firefighting aircraft in the Hayden Pass Fire. ("A lofty proposal," Jan. 28, 2015) Colorado Springs vied as the base for the firefighting aircraft but lost out to Rifle


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