231-acre Seaman Fire at 35 percent containment

Natalia Sperry and Ravyn Cullor

UPDATE 7:00 p.m: Firefighters achieved 35 percent containment of the Seaman Fire by the end of the day Thursday, according to a press release issued by Kristy Wumkes, partnerships and visitor services district for the Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests Service. 

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The Silver Creek Fire near Kremmling and the Seaman fire located twelve miles northwest of Fort Collins, are causing a red haze of smoke over the Fort Collins area. The Seaman fire was started on September 11th by a lightning strike and is 35 percent contained as of September 13th. (Matt Tackett | Collegian)

The fire, located in the lower Poudre Canyon, is reported to be 231 acres in size. According to the release, very light smoke from the fire was visible from Fort Collins, as the fire continues to burn in the grasses and pockets of ponderosa pine entirely within the 2012 Hewlett Fire burn scar.

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At this time, the fire threatens 11 structures in the Smith Bridge area, both homes and outbuildings, Wumkes wrote in an email to The Collegian. The weather conditions contribute to the fire’s reach.

“This depends on wind speed and direction, terrain features humidity, temps, and fuel types. Right now, there continues to be a voluntary evacuation for these homes,” Wumkes wrote.

There are no road closures. Firefighter operations, such as aircraft use, have closed the Gateway Park and forest land closure west of Seaman Reservoir for public safety during firefighter operations, especially aircraft use. Gateway Park is also closed to public use, Wumkes wrote.

“We are currently staffed at an adequate level for this fire. Firefighters continue to plan to build containment line and try to prevent the fire from spreading,” Wumkes wrote.

According to the Seaman Fire’s incident webpage, smoke from the Silver Creek Fire, in Grand County, is much more visible along the Front Range this evening, as that fire is continuing to experience increased activity.

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  • The Seaman Fire burn damage Thursday evening. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

  • A small fire burns in the middle of the Seaman Fire burn damage Thursday evening. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

  • Firefighters sit atop and monitor the border of he Seaman Fire burn damage Thursday evening.

  • Firefighters sort through gear after monitoring the Seaman Fire Thursday evening. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

  • A U.S. Forest Service member monitors the Seaman Fire Thursday Evening. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

  • The sun sets through smoke from the Seaman Fire Thursday evening. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

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A U.S. Forest Service member monitors the Seaman Fire Thursday Evening. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

UPDATE, 11 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., THURSDAY: The Seaman Fire has grown to 231 acres. According to the fire’s incident page, firefighters have still maintained 25 percent containment. 

The Gateway Natural Area, owned by the City of Fort Collins, is also closed to the public until further notice, according to the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forests & Pawnee National Grassland forest service (ARP).

According to a press release from ARP, the fire, located in the lower Poudre Canyon, increased overnight towards the southeast, stopping on the north shore of the Poudre River. There are currently no road closures.

Low humidities and warm temperatures are expected today over the fire, and firefighters are preparing to adjust tactics to meet the challenging conditions, according to ARP.

The fire has continued to burn in grass and brush, as well as pockets of conifers within the burn scar left by the 2012 Hewlett Fire.

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UPDATE, 10:00 a.m., THURSDAY: The Seaman Fire northwest of Fort Collins grew to 168 acres overnight, according to a tweet released by the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forests & Pawnee National Grassland forest service on Thursday morning.

The Greyrock and Hewlett trails, as well as all other Forest Lands west of the Seaman Reservoir, are now closed due to public safety concerns. 

The fire’s InciWeb incident page, sponsored by the U.S. Forrest Service, still reports 25 percent containment at press time.

A red flag warning will continue on Thursday from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. after high temperatures and low precipitation over the last few days. 

Eleven homes and outbuildings are still threatened in the Smith Bridge area, a half-mile away from the fire. A voluntary evacuation of the Smith Bridge area is still in place. No properties have been damaged at this time. 

UPDATE, 6:00 p.m, WEDNESDAY.: Light winds and substantial air support helped firefighters make good progress to begin the process of containment of the Seaman Fire, according to an evening update released by ARP.

The fire, located in the lower Poudre Canyon, is currently at 25 percent containment and about 150 acres in size, according to the release. Very light smoke is visible from Fort Collins, as the fire continues to burn in the grasses and pockets of ponderosa pine entirely within the 2012 Hewlett Fire burn scar.

Smoke conditions are reported to be light, according to a tweet from the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forests & Pawnee National Grassland forest service (ARP). 

Firefighters are expecting red flag conditions to continue for the mountains of northern Colorado on Thursday, including the Seaman Fire area, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and are preparing to adjust tactics to meet the challenging conditions, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Fire management is transitioning from a Type 4 to a Type 3 management team Wednesday night, according to ARP. This means an organized team of fire management specialists will come together to coordinate firefighting operations and agency partners, such as the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Larimer County Office of Emergency Management and Poudre Fire Authority.

As of Wednesday night, there are 120 firefighters assigned to the fire, along with two heavy air tankers, two type 1 helicopters, 1 type 3 helicopter, and three Single Engine Air Tankers.

The Seaman Reservoir, which draws water from the north portion of the Cache La Poudre River, offers Greeley’s largest mountain reservoir at 5,008 acre-feet, according to the City of Greeley. The Poudre also supplies about half of Fort Collins Utilities water.

At this time, the fire is not expected to impact water quality, according to reports from the Greeley Tribune.

“We are working closely with water providers in the area and have implemented mitigation measures to limit impact to the reservoir and intakes,” Armstrong wrote in an email to The Collegian. 

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  • A helicopter drops water over the Seaman Fire in Poudre Canyon. The Seaman fire has grown to over 130 acres as of Sept. 12. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

  • (Collin Shepard | The Collegian.)

  • A helicopter delivers supplies to firefighters on the ground working to put out the Seaman Fire in Poudre Canyon. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

  • A helicopter drops water over the Seaman Fire in Poudre Canyon. The Seaman fire has grown to over 130 acres as of Sept. 12. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

  • The Beaver Fire, located 1.5 miles east of Colorado State University Mountain Campus, was last estimated to be five acres in size, a slight increase from earlier estimates made July 2. (Colin Shepherd | Collegian)

  • A wildfire that started Tuesday evening near Seaman Reservoir has grown to 139 acres and is now threatening structures near the Poudre River a half-mile away, according to a news release by the United States Forest Service. (Colin Shepherd | The Collegian)

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UPDATE, 5:00 p.m.: The Seaman Fire, which has grown to 150 acres, has been 25 percent contained as of approximately 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, according to the Forest Service’s incident webpage.

Air support has been effective at limiting the growth of the Seaman Fire 12 miles northwest of Fort Collins on Wednesday, according to the United States Forest Service.

Public Affairs Specialist for the U.S. Forest Service Reid Armstrong said the fire is burning entirely in the area scarred by the 8,000-acre Hewlett Gulch Fire in 2012. The Seaman Fire is primarily burning on rocky terrain in an area of grass and patches of pine trees, making access difficult.

The fire has not moved very much during the day and the structures near the fire are being protected. No properties have been damaged at this time and the area is under voluntary evacuation, Armstrong said.

The Greyrock Trail and trailhead will be closed for the fire, but the roads will remain open.

ORIGINAL: A wildfire that started Tuesday evening near Seaman Reservoir has grown to 139 acres and is now threatening structures near the Poudre River a half-mile away, according to a news release by the United States Forest Service.

The fire currently threatens 11 homes on Smith Bridge Road, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The Seaman Fire is coming over a ridge in the area, and Smith Bridge Road residents are evacuating voluntarily. 

The Seaman Fire, burning primarily in the Roosevelt National Forest about 12 miles northwest of Fort Collins, was determined to have been caused by a lightning strike on Tuesday and grew to 139 acres after windy conditions overnight. 

There are no road closures at this time, according to the Seaman Fire’s incident page sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service.

The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 12, for Colorado’s northern mountains and valleys, including the area near Seaman Reservoir where the lightning-caused wildfire ignited Tuesday afternoon, according to the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forests & Pawnee National Grassland forest service (ARP)

According to a tweet released by ARP, a containment percentage has not been determined yet. But, air support is actively working on the fire.

A type 4 incident management team along with crews from the U.S. Forest Service, Roosevelt Hotshots, Larimer County Sheriff’s Office, Poudre Fire Authority and Rocky Mountain National Park have responded to the fire, according to the release.

The Forest Service is asking that drones in the area stay grounded as additional air support is to arrive today to help fight the fire.

Updates will come through the Forest Service Arapaho Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland Twitter and Facebook pages.

This is a developing story. Stay with The Collegian for future updates. 

Ravyn Cullor can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @RCullor99. Contributing author and News Editor Natalia Sperry can be reached on Twitter @Natalia_Sperry.