Days after closing, Hanging Lake was "not impacted directly".
Updated on August 17 at 9:46 a.m.:
On Saturday, it was announced—much to the relief of many Coloradans—that the Grizzly Creek Fire has spared the popular attraction.
"I'm happy to announce that Hanging Lake ... was not impacted directly by the fire," said Scott Fitzwilliams, Forest Supervisor for the White River National Forest.
Original story published on August 14 at 3:15 p.m.:
According to a press conference this morning (August 14), the Grizzly Creek Fire that has been raging in the Glenwood Canyon area has reached and may have swept over Hanging Lake. Officials confirmed that the fire had surrounded the lake, but wouldn't go as far as to say if the area was burned out.
"Right now we don’t know the disposition of Hanging Lake,” said Fitzwilliams in the press conference also attended by Gov. Jared Polis on Friday. “We know there was fire around it. We hope to get up and take a look at it today, and as soon as we find out we will let you know.”
Many are mourning the loss of the beautiful location, but officials are saying not to give up hope until crews can assess the area.
A #GrizzlyCreekFire spox cautioned that just because Hanging Lake is within the fire perimeter it doesn't necessarily mean that it has burned. Crews are still trying to get in to survey the area. https://t.co/cvcCViRmz6— cprnews (@CPRNews) August 14, 2020
The blaze broke out on August 10 and had grown to more than 6,000 acres by Thursday, August 13, closing I-70 and causing evacuations. Amid extremely high temperatures, wind, and dry weather conditions, it made a major run overnight into this morning and more than doubled in size. The wildfire is now at 14,663 acres in size with new areas of fire spread on the east and northeast sides of the canyon. Much of the area of the fire is burning has very limited accessibility, making it harder for fire crews to make any progress in getting it stopped. The strategy is to try to get ahead of it with fire lines in places that can be accessed to try to stop forward progress.
Polis said that getting the fire under control is a national priority.
"I was actually just informed that the Grizzly Creek Fire is the top fire priority in the nation right now," said Polis. "So resources are coming from around the country."
Polis anticipated that the I-70 will remain closed for the next several days, as the flames are right on the highway in several places. He recommends following CDOT for updates.
The weather is giving this fire all the fuel it needs, and high winds are pushing it on. According to Incident Commander Mart Adell for Great Basin Team 1, we can expect the burning to continue.
"We will see some more growth for the next couple of days, but we are hoping we can put it in check."
All of Colorado is under drought conditions, so we are under extremely high risk for fires. Please check with local districts about fire restrictions (many have banned fires altogether). If you happen to be in an area you can burn fires, follow all of these guidelines to keep it from getting out of hand.
Seeing the Grizzly Creek Fire, Cameron Peak Fire, and the Pine Gulch Fire, which is one of the largest fires ever recorded in Colorado history, it would just be best to not burn right now at all.
#PineGulchFire & #GrizzlyCreekFire are reminders that we are in CO's core fire season. Our wildland-urban interface communities are particularly threatened by wildfires & only need an ignition source in order for a disaster to occur. Do your part to prevent wildfires! #cofire pic.twitter.com/LZwWJc68NR— COFirePrev&Control (@COStateFire) August 13, 2020
With about 80 percent of wildfires caused by human actions, and the state's resources stretched extremely thin, officials also ask that you not do anything that can accidentally start a fire. DO NOT throw cigarette butts on the ground, don't drag chains (it can cause sparks) from your vehicle, don't pull your car over in grassy areas, and stop recreational shooting on public lands.
There is speculation that Grizzly Creek Fire was started by a blown tire, a sparking rim, or a dragging chain because of a series of ignition points rather than a centralized point, like you might see with lightning or a cigarette.