The reopening of I-70 is big news to Western Slope communities that were hurting because of the closed route
Interstate 70 through Glenwood Canyon reopened to motorists on Monday morning after a two-week closure because of the Grizzly Creek fire.
The Colorado Department of Transportation says the reopening is a “limited” one.
“CDOT asks that motorists prepare for reduced speeds, no stopping in the canyon and closures due to mudslides and other events,” the agency said in a news release. “CDOT also urges travelers to stay focused on the road and avoid distracted driving.”
Transportation officials say motorists should brace for intermittent closures for repairs or fire conditions in the canyon. All rest areas in the area remain closed.
The fire has burned more than 30,300 acres, but crews have started to make significant progress in containing the blaze. As of Sunday evening, the fire was 30% contained.
The reopening of I-70 is big news to Western Slope communities that were hurting because of the closed route, which is the main artery between eastern and western Colorado. The shutdown caused problems for freight delivery and tourism.
Some pre-evacuation orders from the fire have also been lifted.
More than 800 firefighters are still assigned to the fire, which at one point was the nation’s highest-priority blaze because of its proximity to the interstate and threat to the Colorado River watershed. The fire burned pass the popular Hanging Lake attraction and trail, but it doesn’t appear to have significantly damaged the sites.
The Grizzly Creek fire is believed to have been caused by something dragging on I-70.
The Pine Gulch fire, the second largest fire in Colorado history, has burned nearly 130,000 acres near Grand Junction. It is 44% contained and was caused by lightning.
The Williams Fork fire in Grand County has burned nearly 11,000 acres and is 3% contained.
The Cameron Peak fire west of Fort Collins has torched more than 18,000. It is listed at 0% containment.
The Williams Fork and Cameron Peak fires are believed to be human-caused. Authorities are asking for tips as they investigate how they were ignited.
There have been no reports of burned homes or injuries from any of the four major fires burning in Colorado.
Much of Colorado is under a health advisory because of smoke from the fires. Hot, dry weather is expected to persist in the state, meaning there’s high potential for more fires to ignite. Gov. Jared Polis issued a 30-day ban on open fires across Colorado.