Firefighters protect at-risk structures in Colorado blaze
At the height of the fire, the flames started a moderate run up the backside of Keystone Ski Area, where workers readied snowmaking guns as an auxiliary fire-fighting measure, just in case. PHOTO BY STEVE LIPSHER, LAKE DILLON FIRE-RESCUE.
SUMMIT COUNTY — A wet winter with near-record snowfall didn’t prevent a wildfire from quickly springing to life June 2 in Keystone Gulch. Even though the overall fire danger was rated as low in the area, high winds and low humidity enabled the flames to spread quickly through both living and beetle-killed lodgepole pines. A concerted effort by firefighters helped minimize the risk to nearby homes. According to early reports, the fire started in or near some slash piles of woody debris left behind from a fire mitigation logging project. Click here to read the latest update on the fire.
The fire burned in the heart of Keystone Resort strip along U.S. Highway 6 - you can see a golf course in the foreground. The fire at the mouth of Keystone Gulch was in the red zone, or the wildland-urban interface, by the jargon of authorities, where the manicured grass and landscaped flowerbeds give way to cabins and condos tucked among the trees.
Click on the picture to see the large version which gives an idea of the steep terrain. You can also see blackened trees.
At times, the fire burned to within 150 feet of homes in the area.
High winds and steep terrain were the big challenges for firefighters. PHOTO BY STEVE LIPSHER, LAKE DILLON FIRE-RESCUE.
A Juniper Valley prison inmate crew checks in for duty at the June 2 Keystone Gulch Fire. The crew will help mop up in process that could last several more days.
A bustling staging area at the Keystone Gulch Fire, with crews from as far west as Gypsum checking in.
Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Deputy Chief Jeff Berino at the Keystone Gulch Fire. PHOTO BY STEVE LIPSHER.
Firefighters will try and determine how the blaze started. There was no lightning in the area.
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Environment, forest fires, Forest health, forests, Morning photo, seasons, Summit County Colorado Tagged: | Colorado wildfires 2011, Keystone fire, Keystone Gulch fire, Keystone wildfire, Summit County Colorado, Summit County fire, Summit County News