Crews monitor fire near Colorado-Utah border
July 8, 2009
GRAND JUNCTION – Fire officials with the Upper Colorado River Fire Management Unit are managing a 300-acre fire near the Utah-Colorado border west of Baxter’s Pass today.
The fire is in a remote area in rocky, steep terrain, and no structures are threatened. A smokejumper crew is on the ground monitoring the fire, and officials are also monitoring the fire from the air. They don’t plan to put more personnel on the ground this morning.
“Safety is our primary concern, and the terrain in the area is extremely steep and rough,” said Lee Rickard, UCR West Zone Fire Management Officer. “We won’t be putting our firefighters in harm’s way. We are managing the fire for the benefit of the resources. The oak brush and pinyon-juniper out there can benefit from fire.”
While no structures are currently being threatened by the fire, there are oil and gas facilities in the area. Fire officials are planning now to protect those facilities should the fire spread their way, and say the facilities are readily defendable.
Firefighters responded to the fire yesterday at about 1:30 p.m., and say the likely cause of the fire is lightning. It is currently burning in both Colorado and Utah, near the Mesa and Garfield county lines in Colorado.
Resources on the fire include an 8-member smokejumper crew, one engine crew, and air resources.
Fire officials expect fire activity to be high today, with windy, hot and dry conditions likely to contribute to the growth of the fire, especially this afternoon. A red flag warning is in effect from noon to 8 p.m. for gusty winds and low relative humidity. Smoke is likely to be visible throughout the Grand Valley and behind the Bookcliffs.