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Lightning sparks fire near G’wood

Jim Files

The high-fire danger that struck close to Glenwood Springs earlier this summer struck even closer yesterday.

Lightning started a fire last night on Iron Mountain, just north of Glenwood. Firefighting crews from the Bureau of Land Management will be attacking a fire this morning as daylight allows them into the rugged and difficult terrain.

As of 8:30 p.m., the fire had burned over 15 acres.

First reported at 6:40 p.m. as a lightning strike above the No Name tunnels, it swept through brush and trees and had firefighters calling for the evacuation of the Fairy Caves atop Iron Mountain.

As darkness fell, residents in town could see flames biting into the sky as the fire spread up the northeastern slopes of the mountain.

“My guess is this is going to go into the morning and we’ll have to hit it hard then,” an unidentified firefighter said over the radio.

Access up the hill along Traver and Transfer trails was blocked.

The fire was fast-moving, with flames reported by a witness almost immediately following the initial strike report.

Rolls of smoke could be seen from downtown Glenwood Springs around the eastern shoulder of Iron Mountain. More than 100 people reported the fire to the dispatch center.

The Glenwood Springs Fire Department responded with initial attack crews totaling six firefighters. A truck with three more firefighters was brought in from Burning Mountain in New Castle, staged near the Yampah Vapor Caves and taken into the fire scene via the Glenwood Canyon bike trail.

Complicating things were two other emergency calls that came into Glenwood Springs dispatch at almost the exact same time as the fire, one of a mother who had just given birth having complications at a local midwife’s establishment, and another of a fire alarm at Buffalo Valley restaurant.

The BLM determined the fire was their responsibility just after 8 p.m., and Glenwood Springs crews were told to stand down and pull out, with a BLM crew of six firefighters taking over.

A fire in the Grizzly Creek area north of Glenwood last month burned for over a week before firefighters were able to get it under control.


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