Rifle fire 100 percent contained
RIFLE – The 829-acre Red Apple Fire southwest of Rifle was 100 percent contained as of Sunday evening, BLM Public Information Officer David Boyd said.
Local fire crews will continue patrolling the area and mopping up over the next several days. Swirling ash clouds, which can easily be mistaken for smoke, will probably be visible rising from the burned area for the next several weeks, particularly on warm afternoons.
Local, state and federal fire officials are working on a joint emergency stabilization and rehabilitation plan that will involve re-seeding the burned area. In particular, fire managers intend to minimize erosion and prevent the invasion of cheat grass, a non-native, invasive grass that is highly flammable.
Approximately 100 firefighters were assigned to the fire Sunday. As work was completed on the Red Apple, personnel and equipment were released to their home units or to other fires across the West.
Local fire officials and the Garfield County Sheriffs Department will continue to investigate the cause of the fire, Boyd said. Investigators suspect the fire was human-caused.
The Red Apple Fire started Thursday afternoon about five miles southwest of Rifle. It destroyed one home and three outbuildings Thursday. About 50 homes were evacuated Thursday night, but all evacuations have been lifted.
The fire was managed under a unified command that included the federal Upper Colorado River Management Area, Rifle Fire Protection District, and Garfield County Sheriff’s Office. Fire departments from throughout the area provided resources as well.
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