Firefighter start containment, investigate cause
SILVERTHORNE – Summit County firefighters worked quickly into Monday evening to quash a small wildfire on a private ranch in the Lower Blue Valley.No people or structures were threatened by the five-acre blaze, which was burning in shrubs and dead-standing aspens on a hillside on the Mount Powell Ranch about 10 miles north of Silverthorne along Colorado 9.
More than 30 firefighters and other personnel responded from as far as Copper Mountain, along with law enforcement and state transportation workers, according to Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue spokesman Steve Lipsher. The cause of the fire is still under investigation, Lipsher said.
The fire in the still-damp northern mountains came as much of southern Colorado was under a red flag fire danger warning. The south-central plains are also facing critical fire danger, with persistent drought and the spring windy season at hand.
“Even though it’s early in the season, we take an all-hands-on-deck approach,” said Summit County Sheriff John Minor. “We aren’t taking any chances.”
The fire was reported about 4:15 p.m., and by 7 p.m. firefighters had it about 20 percent contained and were optimistic going into nightfall that they would keep it at its current size. Light winds allowed firefighters to work on containment, but they faced some hazards such as potential falling trees and occasional torching of trees amid the single-digit relative humidity.
Although early in the season, the blaze at about 8,100 feet was not unprecedented for the area at this time of year.
“Fire season is here,” said Lake Dillon Fire Chief Dave Parmley. “We all need to begin that mindset of preparation and awareness, and don’t let the heavy snow of this past winter mislead you into thinking it’s going to be an uneventful summer when it comes to wildfire.”