Roaring Fork Valley wildfires in December — curse of 2020 continues |

Roaring Fork Valley wildfires in December — curse of 2020 continues

Small spot fires likely started from vehicle dragging something

A small wildland fire in the midvalley Monday morning emphasized the need for people to be careful because of the extremely dry conditions.

Multiple spot fires broke out on the north side of Highway 82 along a half-mile stretch between Cornerstone Christian Center and Ace Lane’s property across the highway from Whole Foods Market, according to Roaring Fork Fire Chief Scott Thompson.

The highest concentration of spot fires was across Highway 82 from Element Hotel. One downvalley lane of Highway 82 was briefly closed during the operation.

The fire department was called at 10:40 a.m. Crews from the Colorado Department of Transportation and town of Basalt used shovels to beat down the flames, according to Thompson. The fires were mostly under control by the time firefighters arrived, he said.

“I was really surprised at how quickly this one burned,” he said.

It was a rare case of a wildfire in December. The midvalley is part of a large swath of western Colorado that is classified in “exceptional drought,” the highest classification. Thompson said people must be careful with any potential source of fire.

“It’s a good chance a vehicle was dragging something,” Thompson said.

And there is a good chance that vehicle kept on dragging something farther downvalley. Seven minutes after Roaring Fork Fire was paged to the El Jebel area, Carbondale Fire Department was paged to a spot fire about 6 miles away at mile marker 11 on Highway 82. Bystanders and firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, according to public information officer Jenny Cutright.

Cutright said she was aware that other fire agencies were called to additional fires along Interstate 70 west of Glenwood Springs later Monday morning.

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