RBC I Since Aug. 19, there have been four wildland fires in Rio Blanco County that the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit has responded to. Both Meeker Volunteer and Rangely Rural Fire Departments have worked on or were first responders to most of those fires. All the fires are contained. Two of the fires were caused by lightning and the others were human or undetermined causes. Basically, undetermined means we know it wasn’t a lightning or natural ignition, but cannot determine the exact cause.
Fire behavior has moderated slightly due to higher relative humidities, cloud cover, and scattered showers. Drier, warmer conditions will return later this week which will support more active fire behavior. Vegetation continues to dry out; grasses are cured and brush and trees are moving into dormancy.
Three Mile Fire: 113 acres; lightning caused; private and BLM land; Strawberry Creek area, CR 7; pinion juniper trees; power lines were threatened and lines were shut down for fire fighter safety; Meeker Volunteer Fire Department engines, BLM engines, two 20-person fire crews, one helicopter, and one single engine air tanker were assigned to the fire.
Dry Gulch Fire: One-tenth acre; undetermined cause; BLM public land; Black Sulphur Creek, CR 26.
Grand Fire: Nine acres; undetermined cause; BLM public land; power lines threatened and lines shut down for firefighter safety; off Highway 13 south of Meeker, highway was shut down for a period of time; Meeker VFD first on scene with two engines, water truck; BLM engines arrived later; another smaller fire just south of main fire was fought at the same time.
Four Mile Fire: Single tree; lightning caused; on private; south of Rangely; Rio Blanco County responded.
Kissinger Fire: Being managed for resource benefit: 176 acres; lightning caused; west of Meeker in Black Mountain Wilderness Study Area; will improve habitat and overall range health by removing abundance of dead material, clearing the way for grass and shrub regeneration; fire is being monitored by ground and aircraft; smoke may be visible from Highway 64 when fire becomes more active.
By LYNN BARCLAY
Lynn Barclay is fire mitigation/education specialist for the BLM and public information officer for the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit.