No cause determined in Wednesday's fire near Hayden

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A fire several miles west of Hayden burned about 15 acres along U.S. Highway 40 on Wednesday.

Emergency officials say the fire likely will smolder for the next several days, and drivers should use caution when driving through the area. Smoke is impairing visibility along U.S. 40.

As of Wednesday, firefighters had not determined the cause of the fire.

It started near the Yam-pa River two days earlier, Routt County Emer-gency Manager Chuck Vale said.

"It was not hurting anything until the wind came up. Smoke in the highway is the issue," Vale said.

When the wind picked up it blew the fire across U.S. 40 and into a rest area.

Firefighters controlled the blaze by cutting the burning logs and throwing them in the pond. They planned to stack other logs so they would burn quicker. Firefighters from Craig Fire/Rescue, Steamboat Springs Fire Department and West Routt Fire District responded to the fire.

Emergency officials at first thought the fire was a controlled agriculture burn that got out of control, but after talking with nearby landowners, they no longer were sure that was the case, Vale said.

The state wildlife area is popular among northern-pike fishermen. The burn wasn't bad for the area, Vale said.

"Burning up the product out here doesn't hurt a thing. It needs this," Vale said.

Rob Gebhart can be reached at 824-7031 or rgebhart--@craig-dailypress.com.

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