Lightning sparks fire |

Lightning sparks fire

Jennifer Davoren
and Scott Condon
Aspen Times Staff Writers

A lightning strike sparked a half-acre wildfire near Aspen Mountain Sunday evening.

The fire, reported just after 5:30, struck a small area of grass, brush and aspen trees adjacent to Castle Creek Road approximately half a mile south of the Little Annie Road turnoff. Officials said the flames spread at a “moderate” rate, covering just over half an acre along a 40-degree slope and threatening a residence a quarter of a mile away.

Little Annie homeowners Glenn Horn and Alice Davis said the fire was spotted by friends who were coming to their house for dinner. Bob and Cheryl Cumnock called 911 when they spotted the dry grass and brush on fire just upvalley from Little Annie Road.

“If they wouldn’t have seen it, one house probably would have burned,” said Davis.

Horn said the fire was spreading uphill. He credited the fire department’s quick response. Two water tankers kept the flames from reaching houses in a neighborhood called Lime Village.

Davis said a “major” thunderstorm rolled through the area right before the fire started. There were several sharp flashes of lightning and loud booms of thunder and even hail.

Horn said it’s unbelievable to think that a wildfire could start at the high elevation of Castle Creek Valley this early in the season.

He has spent several days this spring clearing dead brush on the hillside below his home and taking other steps to create “defensible space” around his house.

Twenty members of the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department responded to the fire with three engines and a “water tender” in tow. The AVFD contained the fire by 7:05 p.m., though the “overhaul of hot spots” continued into the evening.

No one was injured during firefighting efforts.

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