Fire burns in Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area |

Fire burns in Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area

Post Independent Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

Chad Spangler/Post IndependentA firefighter works to douse hot spots of a fire burning in Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area south of New Castle on Saturday. The fire was burning scrub oak and prairie grasses in rugged terrain, and was estimated to be about 15 acres as of late Saturday afternoon.

NEW CASTLE, Colo. ” A fire was burning in the Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area Saturday night, according to the Colorado Division of Wildlife.

The Burning Mountains Fire Protection District, the Rifle Fire Protection District, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management Unit crews were all working the blaze, according to officials at the scene.

Officials estimated the size of the fire at 15 to 20 acres. They said the cause of the fire was undetermined.

One plane dropped retardant on the fire, said Randy Hampton, a spokesman for the DOW. He said agency officials think the fire started along a roadway. Another plane was directed to the fire late Saturday, officials at the scene said.

A 6-acre fire erupted in the state wildlife area in mid-July. That fire started when a backhoe digging a trench for a new pipeline in the wildlife area struck a rock. The pipeline was being built for Orion Energy Partners, which is currently drilling in the wildlife area.

The total cost of the July fire was pegged at $40,758. The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office and the Burning Mountains Fire Protection District were on the hook for a collective total of about $14,000 from that blaze.

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In June, Orion reached a surface-use agreement with the DOW that cleared the way for the company to begin drilling in the Garfield Creek State Wildlife Area. That agreement calls for Orion to institute several measures to reduce the company’s drilling impacts on area wildlife.