Runaway awning appears to cause fire
Holy Cross Energy believes an awning blown off a nearby Airstream trailer was to blame for the 20-acre fire that ignited south of Carbondale on Friday and was put out over the weekend.
The fire burned east toward Colorado 133, prompting closures of the highway and the evacuation of a campsite and residences nearby.
Steve Casey, a Holy Cross spokesman, on Monday supplied a photograph that shows an awning wrapped around Holy Cross conductors, a “three-phase line” carrying a combined 24,900 volts.
Holy Cross crews discovered the awning when they responded to a resulting power outage in the area.
Metal in the awning could have started the fire by producing an electric arc to the ground, which is charred in the photograph, Casey said.
Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District officials suspect this as the cause but their investigation into the cause hasn’t concluded, said Deputy Chief Rob Goodwin.
This was a freak accident, Casey said. Nevertheless, campers need to be aware of their proximity to power lines and make sure anything that could be blown into those lines is lashed down tightly, he said.
“I’m not aware of any other occasions of this type of accident happening,” he said.
Mop-up work at the scene is wrapped up, though Carbondale Fire is still monitoring the area and helping the landowner figure out how he’ll rehabilitate the hillside, Goodwin said.
Though this fire was not caused by someone burning, Goodwin asked residents not to burn during these extremely dry conditions.
“This fire was so close to becoming really big and causing the loss of structures, and we might not be as fortunate next time,” he said.
While the passage of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Economy Act in the United States Senate remains elusive, supporters of the sweeping legislation to protect thousands of acres of federal land aren’t giving up the fight.
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