Crews respond to small wildland fire in Aspen off McLain Flats
Half-acre blaze was quickly contained after bird flew into power lines
A small wildland fire broke out in McLain Flats Wednesday afternoon, covering half an acre of land near 2222 McLain Flats Rd., according to a release from the Aspen Fire Protection District.
A total of 16 personnel from Aspen Fire, the Aspen Ambulance District and the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office responded to the fire around 1:53 p.m. and promptly mitigated the flames; the fire was contained in 20 minutes and out within an hour. Five fire apparatus and one ambulance responded to the scene.
It appears that the fire was caused by a bird that flew into power lines, the release states. Crews from Holy Cross Energy attended to the scene immediately after emergency responders to make essential repairs to power equipment.
The fire occurred on private property in a field, about 100 feet from a home between McLain Flats Rd. and Highway 82, according to Jake Andersen, Aspen Fire Protection District Deputy Chief of Operations. The home was not in imminent danger because of current spring conditions; the fire department received the call almost immediately after the fire began and was able to respond quickly to the scene, Andersen said.
“For us, it was eye-opening because of the time of year,” he said. This is one of the earliest wildland fires of the season in recent memory, according to Andersen.
“We want people in the valley to be on alert, pay attention, be ready,” he said. “We’ll see what the spring brings us, but there’s certainly potential for this to be a very active fire season.”
The fire department encourages the public “to be prepared and careful this wildfire season” and sign up for the Pitkin Alerts Emergency Alerts system at pitkincounty.com/AlertCenter.aspx.
“Fires occurring this early in the season in the high country are an ominous reminder that our ongoing drought conditions have set us up for an above average wildland fire season,” the release states.
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Aspen City Council is considering yet again to ask voters whether to repurpose Wheeler real estate transfer tax for another community use. The idea has been discussed dozens of times over the years by various councils.