Fires send haze over Aspen
June 1, 2011
ASPEN – Skies turned noticeably hazy over Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley Wednesday morning. Large fires burning in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico were to blame, according to an alert issued by the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.
Winds were out of the southeast at about 16 mph at the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport by late Wednesday morning, bringing the smell of smoke over the Continental Divide and shrouding the peaks surrounding Aspen in haze.
According to The Associated Press, two wildfires along the Colorado-New Mexico border have scorched 20 square miles. Both fires were burning in sparsely populated areas Wednesday morning. A blaze started by lightning in New Mexico southeast of Trinidad, Colo. last week has grown to nearly 6,900 acres, with about 320 of those acres in New Mexico. That fire was about 15 percent contained.
A second fire at Purgatoire River Canyon northeast of Trinidad has burned about 6,100 acres along steep, rocky terrain. That fire is about 10 percent contained. It’s unclear when and how that fire started.
Four hundred firefighters are battling both blazes.