Flaming crow ignites grass fire | AspenTimes.com

Flaming crow ignites grass fire

Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

WOODY CREEK People have longed cursed crows as harbingers of bad luck.One hapless bird proved the adage true Monday by flying into an electric “terminator” at a Holy Cross Electric substation outside of Aspen – and then bursting into flames.The crow (or raven, fire personnel weren’t 100 percent sure) likely fell to the ground in flames and ignited a grass fire that burned about 2 acres at the northeastern corner of Smith Way and Highway 82, above Woody Creek.

At least that’s what officials believe happened, since no witnesses could be found who saw the blaze start.Fire crews from Aspen and Snowmass Village, along with a water truck from Pitkin County Road & Bridge and deputies from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office, responded quickly to the blaze. It was called in at around 3:30 p.m. by a member of the fire department, and the crews had it out within an hour.The fire blackened the sagebrush and other shrubs on the flats next to the highway, but did not burn into the hillside below. No one was injured.

A Holy Cross Electric lineman, who stopped at the scene to monitor his company’s equipment, confirmed that the bird probably flew into one of the live elements hanging from a high crossbeam on the poles, and then burst into flame.”My guess is it caught fire and hit the ground burning,” he surmised, but declined to give his name.Pitkin County Deputy Joe Bauer concurred, saying the bird “got zapped when it hit one of those things they call a terminator. Then it fell, probably on fire, right at the base of one of these poles,” igniting the dry grasses.

John Colson’s e-mail address is jcolson@aspentimes.com

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