Power line sparks wildfire south of Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Power line sparks wildfire south of Aspen

Jeanne McGovernThe Aspen TimesAspen CO Colorado

ASPEN – A wildfire burned about 2 acres of land up Castle Creek Road, outside of Aspen, on Friday afternoon after high winds caused a tree to fall into a power line. The fire, which was located about five miles up the Castle Creek Valley near the Conundrum turnoff, was contained within an hour and completely extinguished within two hours. Authorities stayed at the scene longer, however, to be sure no hot spots were reignited by the strong winds. Firefighters also felled several trees to prevent them from falling on nearby power lines.”These are June conditions out here,” said Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo, who was at the scene of the fire along with members of the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department, Snowmass firefighters, an ambulance and several sheriff’s deputies. “We’ve been lucky so far, but if this keeps up, we won’t be.”Friday’s fire was the second wildfire in three days in the Aspen area. On Wednesday, a caretaker at a home on Warren Creek Lane on Independence Pass was burning brush when the fire got out of control. It burned about a half-acre of land and came within 10 feet of a structure. It caused no damage but produced a lot of smoke.”Even though you may have ice on your back porch or in your yard, the grass and shrubs that are showing are very combustible,” said Aspen Fire Chief Willard Clapper. “Aspen is prime for a forest fire right now.”Also on Friday, a wildland fire broke out at the Ranch at Roaring Fork along Highway 82 in Carbondale. According to Carbondale Deputy Fire Chief Rob Goodwin, this fire also was likely started by a downed power line. When firefighters arrived around 4 p.m., about a dozen cottonwood trees were on fire and the flames were spreading.”We have a petri dish for wildfire right now,” said Carbondale & Rural Fire District Chief Ron Leach. “The threat is real and extreme. I ask that all citizens of Pitkin County honor the fire ban that is in effect.”The high fire danger across the Roaring Fork Valley has prompted local authorities to enact a fire ban on all private and state lands in Pitkin County. They also have launched an emergency preparedness website and information hotline at http://www.pitkinemergency.org and 970-429-1800.”We want to make it as easy as possible for citizens to access information about the fire ban so they understand clearly what they can and cannot do at home and in the backcountry during the ban,” said Blair Weyer, public information officer for the city of Aspen.jmcgovern@aspentimes.com

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