Fire foto

Smoke from the Lake Christine Fire outside Basalt was visible in the Hunter Creek Valley on Thursday morning.

Nearly 350 fire personnel reached 54 percent containment of the Lake Christine Fire by Thursday evening, and Holy Cross Energy was using a helicopter to replace power poles and lines.

The fire, allegedly ignited July 3 by two El Jebel residents firing tracer rounds illegally at the Lake Christine gun range, stood at 6,602 acres, according to information released by the U.S. Forest Service. That was an increase of 287 acres from Wednesday.

Firefighters battling the blaze about a mile northwest of Basalt were aided by humid conditions and moderate temperatures Thursday morning. There were isolated flare-ups as work continued on the fire line on the fire's northwest side.

The personnel included three helicopters, seven hand crews and 14 engines.

The mandatory evacuations that had been in place — an estimated 2,100 people were forced to flee at one point last week — were downgraded Wednesday evening to pre-evacuation status, and residents were advised that: the fire can return suddenly; a go bag should remain prepped; and floods on burned terrain are possible.

The fire's growth is dependent on how much rain falls, though minimal growth as of Thursday night was expected.

The Forest Service also warned residents to be aware that wildlife displaced by the fire will be on the move more than normal.

Another community briefing may be held Saturday or Sunday. Check the Eagle County Sheriff's Office Facebook page for updates.