Quick response douses small, lightning-sparked fires near Glenwood

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
Klaus KocherSeveral fires were caused by lightning strikes around Glenwood Springs Monday. Around 3:30 p.m., this helicopter attacked a small blaze on the mountain behind the Glenwood Springs Golf Course

GLENWOOD SPRINGS – A lightning storm that passed through the area Monday afternoon set off several small fires along the Interstate 70 corridor, including two on BLM land above Glenwood Springs that were quickly extinguished.

“The storm rolled through around 2 o’clock, and we started getting calls for multiple lightning strikes and fires shortly after that,” Glenwood Springs Fire Capt. Doug Gerrald said.

“The largest of the fires, and the one threatening the most homes, was in West Glenwood,” he said of the first of two fires, which ignited about a half-mile up the hillside toward the Flat Tops.

Another small smoke plume was also highly visible from the south end of Glenwood, burning in a gully on the hillside above Valley View Hospital.

“Through the combined efforts of Glenwood Springs Fire and the Upper Colorado Interagency Fire Management Center, we quickly got both of these fires under control,” Gerrald said.

The electrical storm touched off several fires between Grand Junction and Eagle, all on public lands, according to a Bureau of Land Management press release issued late Monday afternoon.

All of the fires were reported to be about 1/10 of an acre in size, and no structures were immediately threatened.

Five separate fires in the Glenwood Springs area, including the two most visible from town, were responded to by several smoke jumpers, several engines, air attack and a Type I helicopter-tanker out of Grand Junction.

The Glenwood Springs Fire Department also deployed resources to assist in the fire-fighting effort.

“Folks are still going to see some smoke, especially from the West Glenwood fire, while we have resources on the scene working to fully extinguish those fires,” Gerrald said.

“Through combined efforts and training we had over the winter, this is why this came together so effectively,” he said.

According to the BLM release, fire resources, including air attack, also responded to a fire at Bellyache, located southeast of Eagle, while ground units responded to a fire on the north flank of the Grand Mesa.