2 weekend fires deemed suspicious in Moffat County | CraigDailyPress.com

2 weekend fires deemed suspicious in Moffat County

Michelle Balleck

The Moffat County Sheriff's Office is investigating two weekend fires deemed "suspicious."

The first fire began about five feet from 560 Behrman Road, west of Craig, at about 6:15 p.m. Saturday, according to Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Bill Johnston.

The fire was fueled by grass and sagebrush, and burned less than one acre. No structures were damaged, and no people were injured.

Cpl. Todd Wheeler of the Sheriff's Office said an investigation into the fire is pending. Johnston said he suspects the fire was caused by arson.

The second fire, a three-acre wildland fire, began at about 11:30 a.m. Sunday north of Craig off of Bypass Road.

Johnston said out-of-town visitors were shooting targets with a .22 caliber gun on a 20-acre Bureau of Land Management parcel in Wildlife Estates and ignited the fire.

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Wheeler said the incident involved an adult and two juveniles who were using tracer rounds in the gun, which include an incendiary device.

Johnston said two people were transported to The Memorial Hospital for burns and smoke inhalation. No structures were threatened.

Wheeler said an investigation into the incident should be completed today.

Fire danger 'very high'

Craig Fire/Rescue also extinguished a grass and sagebrush fire Friday.

Shortly before 3 p.m. Friday, Craig Fire/Rescue crews responded to a two-acre fire on private land south of Craig between Tri-State Generation & Transmission's Craig Station and Trapper Mine.

The cause of the fire is undetermined, Johnston said, and no structures were threatened. Trapper Mine crews assisted with the fire by cutting fire lines with heavy equipment.

With three Moffat County brush fires in three days, Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Bill Johnston cautions residents against even routine activities this fall.

"Fuels' moisture is so low, that fire danger is so high," Johnston said Sunday. "Very high danger everywhere."

Johnston said activities that would not otherwise be considered a fire danger are now considered so because conditions are "so dry."

"Now we're talking about things you wouldn't normally even consider," Johnston said.

Johnston warned residents and visitors to be cautious with activities such as four-wheeling, cutting, welding and grinding, as well as any other activity that creates sparks.

Johnston said even with rain predicted this week, conditions will remain dangerous as rain dries quickly. Also, thunderstorms often accompany those rains, Johnston said.

To report a fire, call 911.

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