Full containment expected Saturday evening; White River NF fire crew will remain to monitor the area
By Bob Berwyn
The Gulch Fire, burning at Keystone, Colorado, started when a spark from a power line ignited woody debris left on the ground as part of a fuel reduction logging project in the area.
Firefighters Saturday afternoon said the sparks were caused by Thursday’s high winds. The power line doesn’t necessarily have to blow down on to the ground to start a fire.
In high winds, sparks can result from the power line swaying, or perhaps from nearby branch falling off a tree and hitting the power line, explained Dave Boyd, a spokesman for the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit.
In dry, windy conditions, that spark can quickly grow into a substantial fire, Boyd said.
Boyd said the fire crews now expect to have the fire fully contained by Saturday night (June 4). That doesn’t mean that every last ember has been extinguished, but the fire is not expected to spread beyond the existing footprint.
“None of the firefighting units will leave the area tonight and we’ll have a crew working it really hard in the morning,” Boyd said.
Then most of the fire crews will depart, some of them probably heading for a huge blaze in Arizona, the 140,000 Wallow Fire, on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest, which has quickly grown to become Arizona’s second-largest fire on record.
A White River National Forest fire crew will remain on the site of the Gulch Fire to monitor it, and fire officials are discussing what sort of clean-up and rehab can be done in the area. The Gulch Fire was reported at 16.6 acres and burned entirely on national forest land.
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