Whitewater Rafting, LLC is officially closed for the 2020 season due to the Grizzly Creek Fire. On August 10th at 1:30 pm the fire ignited brush alongside Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon. Our 12 o’clock trip saw the blaze in its early stages. A guide promptly reported the fire to emergency services in Glenwood Springs and the trip continued without incident. Our 1 o’clock trip launched from the boat ramp several minutes before the blaze started. Halfway through the Shoshone section of rapids our guides noticed a large cloud of smoke which, at the time, appeared beyond the ridgeline and away from the river. But further downriver, after being alerted by our photographer, it became clear to the guides that the fire was burning next to the Colorado River. After pulling over to the side of the river and scouting ahead, our trip leader determined the best, and safest, option was to proceed downriver through the fire. After rafting through thick smoke and next to eighty foot flames our trip made it safely to the other side of the fire and proceeded to float back to our boathouse. We are incredibly proud of the decisions our guides and staff made during this incident that led to the safe return of the trip.
On Tuesday, August 11th several of our guides were on standby at the Grizzly Creek rest area in case firefighters needed to be ferried across the river in order to fight spot fires. Ultimately, these guides were not needed as the fire had already spread, but we are proud of everyone’s willingness to help.
The fire has since grown very rapidly and on Friday, August 14th we determined that, for the foreseeable future, it would not be safe to run rafting trips. We are particularly concerned about poor air quality and the possibility of rockslides. Additionally, we do not wish to impede emergency services during the fighting of the Grizzly Creek fire.
Whitewater Rafting, LLC would like to thank the firefighters and emergency service personnel working around the clock to control the Grizzly Creek Fire and protect the river we love so much. If you would like to see more information, pictures, or maps of the fire the best place is the official fire Facebook page. We hope everyone stays safe in the coming weeks! See you on the river next year!