Avon fire doused in minutes Monday; woman charged in Monday’s East Vail campground fire | AspenTimes.com

Avon fire doused in minutes Monday; woman charged in Monday’s East Vail campground fire

Eagle River Fire Protection District firefighters, from left, Jake Walkowicz, Andy Pohlman and Kevin Kerr respond to a small fire in Avon moments after it was reported Monday, June 11. It was contained to less than an acre. Fire danger is extremely high around the region, leading local and federal fire officials to instate Stage 1 fire restrictions for Eagle County.
Townsend Bessent | Special to the Daily

County under fire restrictions

Eagle County has implemented “Stage 1” fire restrictions prohibiting all open burning for private lands in unincorporated Eagle County.

Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service White River National Forest will be implementing the same restrictions on Friday.

The restrictions mean:

• Campfires are only allowed within designated fire grates in developed campgrounds (i.e., a metal, in-ground containment structure -- fire pans and rock campfire rings are not acceptable).

• No fires of any type, including charcoal, outside of developed areas.

• No smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or in a barren area free of vegetation.

• No use of explosive materials, including explosive targets.

• No welding or operation of an acetylene or other similar torch with open flame, or any other spark producing device, except from an area that has been cleared of vegetation.

• No operation of any internal combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed and in working order.

• Fireworks are always prohibited on BLM, National Forest and National Park Service lands.

Fire restrictions will be in place until further notice. Violation of federal fire restrictions is punishable by a fine of not more than $100,000 or imprisonment for not more than 12 months or both. Those found responsible for starting wildfires will also face restitution costs of suppressing the fire.

For more information about fire restrictions in these areas, log on to: http://www.gacc.nifc.gov

You can also visit ">www.coemergency.com.

AVON — Fire crews stomped out a small fire Monday evening just west of the Brookside Lodge on U.S. Highway 6 in Avon.

The fire was reported at 6:48 p.m., and westbound Highway 6 was closed east of West Beaver Creek Boulevard. The fire was limited to a few dozen square yards.

The Eagle River Fire Protection District, Vail Fire Department and Avon Police Department had the fire handled and cleared by 7:37 p.m.

However, about 10 minutes later, an Avon police officer investigating the source of the original fire and the flammability of the dry ground fuels in the area inadvertently caused the fire to restart, Avon Police said in a statement.

The same fire crews were immediately back at the scene, and the half-acre fire was completely extinguished by 8:39 p.m.

Avon Police said they plan to conduct an internal review of the incident.

The Avon fire was one of several, large and small, that has local officials asking people to use extra caution amid dry conditions, high winds and humidity in the single digits.

“Residents are reminded, as we remind ourselves, to be vigilant when using fire, given the drier-than-usual conditions,” Avon Police said in a statement.

Fire in Edwards extinguished

Just before 6 p.m. Tuesday there also was a grass/brush fire between the river and Eagle River Village mobile home park in Edwards, according to the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. The fire was started by three juveniles playing with a lighter. The fire was quickly extinguished.

Woman charged in East Vail fire

A woman faces misdemeanor charges for sparking a fire in East Vail around 11:30 a.m. Monday.

The Vail Fire Department and Eagle River Fire Protection District quickly jumped on the small fire and kept it small — less than an acre, said Aaron Mayville, with the U.S. Forest Service Holy Cross Ranger District.

The fire, near the Gore Creek Campground above the Gore Creek trailhead, grew to three-quarters of an acre. No structures were threatened, and no evacuations were ordered for Gore Creek campground.

The woman whose campfire ignited the Gore Fire received a summons charging her with one count of “firing woods or prairie,” a class 2 misdemeanor.

“Please be responsible, careful and respectful,” Mayville said. “They did some good work quickly to get it handled. We train for exactly that.”

Crews also stomped on a fire at the Minturn shooting range that was touched off Saturday.

Containment continues on Bocco fire

The biggest blaze in the area, the Bocco fire, located 3 miles northwest of Wolcott, consumed 415 acres and is 50 percent contained.

Crews continued mop-up efforts throughout the day Monday. Despite warm, dry and breezy conditions, there was minimal fire activity, with some smoking and smoldering within the interior of the fire perimeter, incident commander Jeremy Spetter said.

“Smoke and dust will continue to be visible in the coming days,” Spetter said. “There are still smoldering hot spots within the fire perimeter that may continue to produce smoke; we are being very diligent with our work because of continued weather conditions.”

Evacuations for the Alkali Creek Neighborhood were lifted at 1 p.m. Monday.

State Highway 131 is currently open but may close, if needed, for fire-suppression efforts and public safety. Access to the Eagle County Landfill will remain open even if Highway 131 is closed. Milk Creek Road and Horse Mountain Road are open. Horse Mountain Road continues to be used for fire operations, and emergency vehicles may be present on the road.

An unauthorized drone shut down all air operations on the fire on Sunday afternoon. Unauthorized drone flights pose serious risks to firefighter and public safety and the effectiveness of wildfire suppression operations. Fire managers remind the public: If you fly, we can’t.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Aspen and Snowmass Village make the Aspen Times’ work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User