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Firefighter Safety A Top Priority As Beaver Creek Fire Continues To Burn

WALDEN, Colo. (CBS4) - A wildfire that started a month ago near Walden in northern Colorado continues to burn and create headaches for fire managers.

The battle against the 25,000 acre Beaver Creek Fire has cost nearly $12 million so far, and crews say the large number of beetle-kill trees continue to make their jobs difficult.

Beaver Creek Fire
(credit: CBS)

"It's dangerous before it burns and even more dangerous, as you can imagine, after the fire goes through and weakens those trees further," said Casey Cheesbrough, the U.S. Forest Service incident commander for the fire.

Beaver Creek Fire
(credit: CBS)

There's a virtual city set up in an area that's a 20 minute drive from the fire line. A total of 275 firefighters were there on Wednesday when a CBS4 crew visited.

PHOTO GALLERY: Beaver Creek Fire

The Forest Service won't risk firefighter safety, so currently large sections on the fire lines can only be fought from the air.

"Things that are threatened right now, it's certainly not worth the life of one of our firefighters or a member of the public and so it's a huge challenge, but I feel like we've got the organization and the people that are bought in to the strategy we're using to keep our folks safe out there," Cheesbrough said.

Beaver Creek Fire
(credit: CBS)

Conditions on Wednesday in the region weren't as severe as they had been in recent days. Some rain fell, but the forecast calls for more hot, dry days in the near future.

Wildfire Resources

- Visit's Living With Wildfire section.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfires (Black Forest, Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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