Lightning likely ignites small fire |

Lightning likely ignites small fire

Basalt firefighters scrambled to the top of the Crown on Monday evening after lightning apparently ignited a couple of trees.

As of press time, one crew had arrived near radio transmission towers, above the small fire, and was assessing the threat. Crew members reported to colleagues that the fire was in steep terrain roughly 50 yards below the towers, which are visible from the valley floor. They said it was difficult to assess the fire from their vantage point because of tall pines.

A second crew was en route to the scene at 6:30 p.m. A small crew from the Upper Colorado River Interagency Fire Management headquarters in Rifle also was responding to the scene, according to authorities.

A storm blew through the midvalley at about 4 p.m. and included a significant amount of thunder and lightning. Steady rain fell for an hour.

The Crown is a mountain between the valley floor and Mount Sopris, south of El Jebel and west of Emma. Most of it is open land held by the Bureau of Land Management. There are a few homes and communication towers on the eastern end of the mountain, where the lightning strike was reported.

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