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Illegal campfire starts blaze east of Aspen

Staff report
The Aspen Volunteer Fire Department responds to a small wildland fire sparked by an illegal campfire near the winter closure gate on Highway 82 east of Aspen Saturday.
Jeremy Wallace/The Aspen Times |

A camper was cited for an illegal fire Saturday after a campfire ignited a small wildfire near the closure gate on Highway 82 about 6 miles east of Aspen.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office said a passerby reported the smoke near mile marker 47 on the highway at about 2:22 p.m. An on-call officer for the Aspen Volunteer Fire Department and a deputy responded, spotted smoke, hiked to the scene and found a fire covering a 50-foot-by-50-foot area in grass and downed timber. Additional Aspen firefighters arrived and were able to run 2,000 feet of hose from pumper trucks to the site. The fire was quickly extinguished, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office.

A U.S. Forest Service law enforcement officer was called to the scene and investigated the illegal campsite. The officer located the camper and cited the person for illegally camping and leaving an unattended fire. The camper’s name wasn’t available Saturday night.

Firefighters from the Bureau of Land Management were called and took over responsibility for the fire, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Aspen firefighters were out of the field by 6:30 p.m. The Sheriff’s Office is reminding people that all fires must be extinguished when they are left unattended.


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