Crews snuff Cottonwood Pass wildfire
July 21, 2012
BASALT – Fire crews contained a wildfire on Cottonwood Pass, north of Basalt, Friday night and returned Saturday morning to snuff out any remaining hot spots.
Officials suspect lightning sparked the blaze, located on private property about one mile southwest of the pass.
A crew of 17 firefighters, including members of the Basalt and Carbondale fire departments, along with personnel from the Upper Colorado River Fire Agency, tackled the blaze, which was burning in brush and aspen trees. The Basalt Fire Department was summoned after smoke was spotted in the area at about 2:20 p.m. Friday; crews had a fire line around the perimeter by 8 p.m., according to Jerry Peetz, deputy chief for the Basalt department.
The fire was estimated at a half-acre to an acre in size, producing two-foot flames. No structures were threatened, Peetz said.
A helicopter was summoned, but was unable to provide water drops because there were power lines in the area, according to the Basalt department.
The pattern of stormy afternoon weather continued Saturday and remains in the forecast. The Basalt department fielded a couple of reports of smoke by 5 p.m. Saturday, but a grill was the source of one suspected fire, according to Peetz.
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“Everybody is edgy, so every time someone sees a puff of smoke, they call,” he said.
Although the White River National Forest, which surrounds the Roaring Fork Valley, has lifted its fire ban and Eagle County has modified its restrictions, fire officials warn that fire danger remains high. Area fire agencies have urged citizens to report possible wildfire sightings.
Last Thursday, Aspen firefighters responded quickly when lightning sparked a wildfire south of town, off Castle Creek Road.
The Basalt Rural and Fire Protection District is continuing its daily patrols with a brush truck, allowing it to respond quickly in the event of a wildfire, and the effort is making a difference, Peetz said.