What Travelers Need to Know About the Colorado Wildfires Now

Flights through Aspen are being affected by the Lake Christine Fire that broke out July 3.

What Travelers Need to Know About the Colorado Wildfires Now

Smoke from the 416 Fire in southwestern Colorado appears in the San Juan National Forest.

Photo by Dom Paulo/Flickr

Originally published on June 13, this story was updated on Monday, July 23, to include new details about the ongoing wildfires.

This summer, wildfires have burned more than 175,000 acres across the state of Colorado and now flights in and out of Aspen are being affected by the Lake Christine Fire that broke out on July 3, The Points Guy reports.

Several major airlines issued travel waivers for Aspen-Pitkin County Airport this week due to temporary flight restrictions in the area after aerial fire attacks were increased to fight the blaze. American Airlines is waiving change fees for travel between July 19-25, 2018 and Delta will reissue tickets for flights between July 5-25, 2018. While flights into the resort town are being delayed and possibly canceled, Aspen is currently unaffected since it is located about 19 miles southeast of the fire.

“A number of state agencies are working around the clock to contain the fires that have begun at the beginning of an especially hot and arid summer season in Colorado,” says Caitlin Johnson, a public relations strategist for the Colorado Tourism Office.

Despite the wildfires, most of Colorado remains unaffected and is open for business, Johnson says. The state’s two main airports—Denver International Airport and Colorado Springs Airport—have experienced no flight cancellations or visibility issues.

Currently, the largest wildfire in the state is the Spring Creek fire which has burned 108,045 acres in southern Colorado’s Costilla and Huerfano counties and has damaged at least 251 homes. The second biggest wildfire is the 416 Fire in southwestern Colorado, which began burning near the New Mexico border on June 1, according to InciWeb.

Combined with the the 4,593 acres that the nearby Burro Fire burned, officials closed all 1.8 million acres of the San Juan National Forest to visitors, restricting use of campgrounds, hiking trails, and all recreational activities until between June 12-20, 2018.

While Dunton Hot Springs and Telluride, which are located in the area, continued to welcome guests, the towns of Durango and Silverton were affected by the fires more severely. Both towns were forced to forego their annual Fourth of July fireworks show over fire concerns. The popular Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad had to cancel 31,000 reservations in June and closed again between July 18-19 after mudslides caused by rains that came after the fire damaged the tracks. The scenic railroad is back and running again as of July 20, 2018.

For updates on the location and status of the fires, visit the Colorado Division of Emergency Management and the InciWeb Incident Information Center.

>>Next: What It’s Like to Be a Wildland Firefighter

Lyndsey Matthews is the senior commerce editor at Afar who covers travel gear, packing advice, and points and loyalty.
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