Officials: Tenderfoot 2 Fire caused by power line sparks

Staff report
Summit Daily
Firefighters on the scene of the Tenderfoot 2 Fire near Dillon.
Upper Colorado River Fire Management Unit/Courtesy Photo

Officials said Wednesday that an exploded power line insulator cap caused the Tenderfoot 2 Fire near Dillon on Monday evening, creating sparks that ignited nearby grasses and setting off a roughly 25-acre wildfire.

The fire was first reported at around 5 p.m. Monday near U.S. Highway 6 and Corinthian Circle, coinciding with a roughly two-hour power outage in Dillon.

An early air attack with two fixed-wing tankers and two helicopters quickly slowed the fire’s spread, and hand crews contained 50 percent of it by Tuesday evening.

A spokesman for Xcel Energy, which operates power lines in the area, said the company needed to review official reports and complete its own inquiry before providing comment.

The U.S. Forest Service, which took over command of the blaze from Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Monday evening, does not yet have a cost estimate for the air attack.

On Wednesday, about 120 firefighters continued to extinguish hot spots and monitor the fire should it start to spread. High winds have buffeted Summit County with gusts up to 50 miles per hour since Tuesday, but so far they haven’t whipped up the fire.

The Oro Grande and Tenderfoot Mountain trails remained closed until further notice. The Forest Service also asked the public to avoid the Tenderfoot Mountain area between Straight Creek Road and Frey Gulch Road for safety reasons.