Smuggler Mountain blaze under control |

Smuggler Mountain blaze under control

Steve Benson

A wildfire that flared up on Smuggler Mountain yesterday is under control after being aggressively attacked by smokejumpers and members of the Aspen Fire Protection District. The fire, which was less than an acre in size and burning east of Warren Lakes, was contained early in the afternoon. Aspen Fire Chief Darryl Grob said smokejumpers would continue to monitor the fire to make sure it’s completely extinguished. “Everything is out, but they will sit on it,” he said. Grob said the fire was probably started by lightning from storms that passed over the area Tuesday night, and no structures were in danger. It was reported shortly after 10 a.m. Wednesday.Immediately after the fire was reported, Grob notified fire dispatch in Grand Junction and deployed a team of five Aspen firefighters. Because the fire was difficult to access, Grob said he and Frankie Romero, the zone fire management officer for the BLM/Forest Service interagency office in Rifle, decided to call for smokejumpers. “Grob is real big on acting fast and aggressively,” said George Kremer, a deputy with the Pitkin County Sheriffs Department. It took the Aspen crew about two and a half hours to reach the fire – via jeep and foot – and the smokejumpers landed at about the same time. “I admire the cooperation we got from Grand Junction,” Grob said. “They were right on it, and we had no injuries.” Kremer said the fire was in an area of heavy pine with lots of downed timber. He said a lookout post was created on Aspen Mountain to communicate with firefighters on the scene. Grob said helicopters that could have been used to drop water on the flames were on standby but not needed. He added that wildfires during this time of year are not uncommon. “This is traditionally the second wildfire season as the grasses and brush dry out in preparation for winter,” Grob said. “This is not out of the ordinary.” Steve Benson’s e-mail address is