Fire fighting crews throughout the northwest corner of the state had a busy day Friday.
A rash of lightning strikes started 18 fires across Northwest Colorado. All 18 were reported to the Craig Interagency Dispatch Center. The fires burned on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land for the most part, while only a few of the fires burned on private land. Six of the fires burned an area 13 miles west of Maybell off Colorado Highway 13 and four of the fires blazed in the Piceance Basin southwest of Meeker. The rest of the fires were spread out between those two locations.
Most of the fires were small, burning from 1/10 to 1/4 acre. One 25-acre fire burned outside Dinosaur National Monument in the Vale of Tears Wilderness Study Area (WSA). Strong winds gusting up to 15 miles per hour helped spread the fire quickly through the grass, sage brush, pitrees and juniper trees. Rock outcroppings worked as natural barriers to help contain the fire within the WSA. Officials from Dinosaur national Monument said that the fire never reached the border of the monument.
The Maybell Volunteer Fire Department, U.S. Forest Service, BLM and the National Park Service responded to the fires. All of the fires are reported as out or under control.