Western Colorado wildfire 30 percent contained | AspenTimes.com

Western Colorado wildfire 30 percent contained

Dan Elliott
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado

DENVER – Crews battled two wildfires in Colorado that had burned a combined 12 square miles by Monday.

An eight-square-mile fire near Paradox was 30 percent contained but a smaller fire near Pagosa Springs was burning in terrain so steep and rugged that firefighters had no containment lines built.

“It’s probably going to be a while before we see any containment just because the terrain is so difficult to work in,” fire information officer Pam Wilson said.

The larger fire was burning on public land about four miles north of Paradox and 220 miles west of Denver near the Colorado-Utah border. No structures were threatened.

Five helicopters, nine fire engines and about 350 firefighters were on the scene. Temperatures were cooler and winds were calmer Monday than over the weekend.

“It’s a good day to get some firefighting done,” fire information officer David Eaker said.

Fire managers said some campers had been evacuated but the number wasn’t known. No structures have burned.

The fire started Friday, shutting down several roads in Colorado and Utah.

The wildfire near Pagosa Springs, about 200 miles southwest of Denver, had scorched four square miles. Firefighters were bulldozing a line on a ridge north of the fire and might ignite smaller fires to consume the fuel and prevent the wildfire from rushing that way, Wilson said.

About 10 homes and cabins stand at least two miles north of the fire and 30 or 40 are to the east.

Wilson said 100 firefighters were on the scene and more crews were ordered. Two helicopters were available but were not being used Monday because crews haven’t been able to get close enough to the fire to utilize air-dropped water.

The fire was started by lightning on May 13, information officer Brandy Richardson said.

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