• ITVI.USA
    13,795.070
    81.410
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    26.560
    -0.120
    -0.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,740.380
    64.000
    0.5%
  • TLT.USA
    2.720
    -0.060
    -2.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.670
    0.130
    5.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.930
    0.280
    10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.320
    -0.020
    -1.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.040
    0.050
    1.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.740
    0.050
    3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.210
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
  • ITVI.USA
    13,795.070
    81.410
    0.6%
  • OTRI.USA
    26.560
    -0.120
    -0.4%
  • OTVI.USA
    13,740.380
    64.000
    0.5%
  • TLT.USA
    2.720
    -0.060
    -2.2%
  • TSTOPVRPM.ATLPHL
    2.670
    0.130
    5.1%
  • TSTOPVRPM.CHIATL
    2.930
    0.280
    10.6%
  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
    1.320
    -0.020
    -1.5%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
    3.040
    0.050
    1.7%
  • TSTOPVRPM.PHLCHI
    1.740
    0.050
    3%
  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXSEA
    3.210
    0.000
    0%
  • WAIT.USA
    108.000
    5.000
    4.9%
InsightsNewsWeather and Critical Events

Part of I-70 remains closed due to Colorado wildfires

Extremely dry conditions are helping fuel two large fires across western Colorado, forcing the state Department of Transportation to close a section of Interstate 70.

SONAR Critical Events: Grizzly Creek Fire, Thursday, August 13, 2020

On Tuesday, all lanes in both directions were shut down between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum (mile markers 116 to 140), and the road remains closed until further notice. 

The Grizzly Creek fire near Glenwood Junction, which started Monday, covered about 6,200 acres as of noon Thursday. This is the fire that has forced the closure of I-70.

Besides road closures, the fires have led to evacuation orders from the Garfield County Sheriff’s office.

Meanwhile, the Pine Gulch Fire, which started back on July 31, is now spread across more than 68,000 acres 18 miles north of Grand Junction. It is the sixth-largest wildfire on record for Colorado, and was only 7% contained as of noon Thursday.

This region of Colorado has been in a drought for almost a year, and the National Weather Service (NWS) is not expecting conditions to improve much anytime soon. The NWS has posted red flag warnings due to breezy and extremely dry weather. Relative humidity will be less than 15%, and with southwesterly wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph, these fires could spread faster and new fires could start. There’s no rain in the forecast for these areas over the next week.

The Storm Prediction Center’s (SPC) fire weather outlook for Thursday shows an “elevated” risk of wildfire danger in northwest Colorado.

HRRR smoke forecast. (Source: NOAA)

The near surface smoke forecast from the latest High Resolution Rapid Refresh (HRRR) model shows ongoing issues across Colorado Thursday, with much of the smoke from the fires out west focused along the I-70 corridor.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

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Nick Austin, Director of Weather Analytics and Senior Meteorologist

In his nearly 20 years of weather forecasting experience, Nick worked on air at WBBJ-TV and WRCB-TV, including time spent doing weather analysis and field reporting. He received his Bachelor of Science in Meteorology from Florida State University as well as a Bachelor of Science in Management from Georgia Institute of Technology. Nick is also a member of the American Meteorological Society and National Weather Association. As a member of the weather team at WBBJ-TV in Jackson, Tennessee, Nick was nominated for a Mid-South Emmy for live coverage of a major tornado outbreak in 2008. As part of the weather team at WRCB-TV in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Nick shared the Chattanooga Times-Free Press Best of the Best award for “Best Weather Team” for eight consecutive years. Nick earned his National Weather Association Broadcasting Seal in 2005.
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