Cow Creek Fire Update
Delta, Colorado, October 16, 2019
Sean Stafford, Incident Commander

Summary:  At 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, the Cow Creek Fire was reported nine miles east of Ridgway, CO, south of Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain, in the Uncompahgre Wilderness of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison (GMUG) National Forests.

The fire has grown to approximately 100 acres. Additional resources have been ordered and will be employed where tactics and strategies have high probabilities for success, while minimizing unnecessary exposure to the public and firefighters. Today’s firefighting operations focused on the eastern side of the fire. Direct tactics and water drops from aircraft were attempted, however heavy dead and down timber hampered these efforts. Natural and geographic features and existing roads and trails will be used to help firefighters with containment. Smoke will be visible and may affect areas east of the fire, specifically in the early morning. No structures have been lost, and none are threatened at this time.


Closures:  Forest Service Trails: Stealey Mountain South Trail (FST 258), Courthouse Trail (FST 218), Stealey Mountain North Trail (FST 219), Old Owl Creek Trail (FST 236), Cow Creek Trail (FST 220), Spalding Park Trail (FST 237), FST 219.1B, FST 236.1B, FST 236.1A, and FST 144.

Forest Service Roads: Owl Creek Pass (Forest Service Road (FSR) 858 from the forest boundary up to Owl Creek Pass)


Temporary Flight Restrictions (TFRs): TFRs are in place around the fire perimeter to provide for the safety of firefighting aircraft and crews on the ground. Authorized Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), or drones, are a useful tool that firefighters use in gathering data, however, unauthorized use of UAS by the public is prohibited near active wildfires due to safety. “If you fly, we can’t”.


Fire Weather: For the next 24 hours, no precipitation is forecasted over the fire area. Temperatures will drop this evening to the high 30s with a minimum humidity of 21-25%. On Thursday, temperatures will remain in the 60s with morning winds of out the south-southwest, with afternoon gusts up to 25 miles per hour.


Due to dry, windy conditions increased fire activity is expected as fuels are more susceptible to ignition. The potential for rapid fire spread is high. Heavy smoke will be visible throughout Mesa, Delta, Montrose, Ouray, San Miguel, Hinsdale, and Gunnison counties.


Public health info: Individuals with smoke sensitivities can find information on how to protect themselves at: For a detailed daily air quality summary, visit:


Fire Statstics:

Size:  Approximately 100 acres

Containment:  0%

Cause:  Unknown

Fire Behavior: Group tree torching and crown runs

Vegetation:  Mixed Conifer

Total Personnel: 64

Jurisdiction: USFS – GMUG National Forests

Location: 9 miles east of Ridgway, south of Chimney Rock and Courthouse Mountain

Start Date:  October 16, 2019


For More Information:

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests Fire Information: 970-874-6602

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests website:

West Slope Fire Information:





Kimberlee J Phillips
Public Affairs Officer
Forest Service

Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison National Forests

Supervisors Office

p: 970-874-6717

c: 970-589-0842

2250 S. Main St. Delta Co 81416

Caring for the land and serving people     



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