The Grizzly Creek Fire, which began on July 31 in southwestern Colorado, is burning too close to the road to reopen Interstate 70 between Glenwood Springs and Gypsum, fire managers report. Colorado Governor Jared Polis said today at a press conference today that he’s hopeful the highway will be able to reopen within two to three days.
Interstate 70, which is the main national route connecting Colorado to Utah, has been closed since Monday. The closure has reportedly caused semi-truck and tourist traffic to spread onto backcountry roads where multiple accidents have been reported.
Cottonwood Pass and Independence Pass have both been closed due to increased traffic, as well as Forest Service Road 400 and other small dirt backroads. Independence Pass, outside Aspen, does not permit semi-truck traffic at any time due to hairpin curves. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office estimated that the I-70 closure was directing between 8,000 and 9,000 more cars through Aspen and up Independence Pass before the road was closed, as reported by the Aspen Times. See road closure information
The Grizzly Creek Fire is now burning over 13,441 acres according to U.S. Forest Service officials, doubling in size from Aug. 12 to Aug. 13. Over 400 fire personnel are working to contain the blaze, which is considered 0% contained as of Aug. 14.