Lightning strikes start three midvalley blazes | AspenTimes.com

Lightning strikes start three midvalley blazes

Scott CondonThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO, Colorado

MISSOURI HEIGHTS – Lightning strikes started three wildfires in the broader Missouri Heights area Thursday when a thunderstorm rolled through shortly after 3 p.m., authorities said.The fire departments of Glenwood Springs, Carbondale and Basalt each extinguished a small blaze, said Carbondale Fire Chief Ron Leach. The first firefighters on the scenes for Carbondale and Basalt were in brush trucks on special patrol looking for wildfires.”Both of our initial attack engines responded today and did their job,” Leach said.The Carbondale & Rural Fire Protection District was called to Garfield County Road 115 after lightning ignited sagebrush, Leach said. About one-tenth of an acre burned. The department’s wildfire patrol engine was already in the Missouri Heights area when the call came in, Leach said.Around the same time, lightning hit and ignited a juniper tree on Skipper Drive off Garfield County Road 102. The Basalt Fire Department’s brush truck was on patrol in the area and was asked to put out the wildfire in a mutual-aid call from Carbondale. “They happened to be in the right place,” said Basalt Deputy Fire Chief Brian Benton. The crew prevented the spread of the fire beyond the one tree, he said.Leach said the Glenwood Springs Fire Department was called at about the same time to a wildfire on Lookout Mountain, a peak not far from the Spring Valley campus of Colorado Mountain College. Details on that firefighting effort weren’t immediately available. No aid was sought from Carbondale or Basalt, so the fire appeared minor.Carbondale Fire Department has a brush truck on patrol every day from 11 a.m. until dark, Leach said. It is a practice he implemented years ago during dry summers. Basalt firefighters started their patrol last Friday. The fire danger is rated extreme. Both departments want to have first responders in areas where wildfires are most likely so they can get a quick jump on any blazes that start. The patrols will continue until the fire danger eases.scondon@aspentimes.com

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