Cause of Granby Ranch fire remains unknown
July 16, 2017
A wildland fire on Granby Ranch's west mountain, which sent resort employees scrambling and firefighters racing to the scene Sunday afternoon, still had no official cause as of Tuesday morning and investigators said the event that sparked the blaze would likley remain undetermined.
Firefighters from the Grand Fire Protection District, based in Granby, were dispatched early Sunday afternoon to the top of Granby Ranch Resort's west mountain after a small wildland fire was seen by resort employees and reported to first responders. Officials are formally referring to the small blaze, which never exceeded one-acre in size, as the West Mountain Fire.
The initial call for response was received at 1:20 p.m. By 2:45 p.m. the fire was fully contained. Officials declared the blaze "controlled and contained" Sunday afternoon and sent patrols to monitor the burn area Sunday evening and Monday morning.
Officials do not have an official cause for the West Mountain Fire though early reports showed no indications of a human caused ignition. Authorities could not rule out the possibility though. Representatives from Grand Fire said they reviewed weather data to see if any lightning strikes were recently recorded in the area but found nothing conclusive. Additionally officials said they know citizens commonly recreate in the area, but could not connect the fire to any specific instances of citizens in the area.
Brad White, Assistant Chief with Grand Fire, explained because the fire did not cause any injuries, did not damage any physical structures, and was fairly small in size, determining the cause of the fire was downgraded as a priority. White did not fire officials were able to determine the location where the fire started. "We feel good we found the point of origin," White said.
Granby Ranch initially reported the fire. Members of Granby Ranch's Mountain Patrol team were the first individuals on the scene.
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"They went up and got a couple of extinguishers on it right away," White said.
Officials from Grand Fire confirmed there were no injuries reported from the fire and no structures were damaged though one outbuilding on Ranch property was threatened.
"Granby PD got an extinguisher up there too and helped contain it and save one building."
The West Mountain Fire burned through a heavily timbered steep mountainside area near the top of Granby Ranch's west mountain, slightly over the top of the ridge from where the Conquest Lift deposits skiers in winter, and on the mountain's back side.
According to White the fuel in the area was mostly beetle kill pine, regenerated lodgepoles and a mixture of various lighter fuels. White noted Granby Ranch has previously done mitigation work in the area impacted by the fire.
"That helped," White said. "When we got up there is was cooking pretty good. We got some water on it and around it pretty quick. We got it wetted down and then our guys dug a containment line all the way around."
A total of five firefighting apparatus responded to the West Mountain Fire along with 13 firefighters. Also assisting Sunday was Granby Ranch Mountain Patrol, Granby Police, and the Grand County Sheriff's Office.