Bitterbrush Fire contained

Blaze near Maybell scorches 2,207 acres


Firefighters battling the Bitterbrush Fire, a wildfire near Maybell, achieved full containment by noon Wednesday, the Bureau of Land Management reported.

The fire, which began at about 4 p.m. Tuesday, came within a mile of the small town 30 miles west of Craig. No homes were destroyed, and no injuries have been reported.

"Our main concern was Maybell," said Ron Simpson of the BLM, from the cab of his truck atop a charred hill overlooking the town. "Luckily, we had wind in our favor, so it didn't blow toward the town."

As Simpson worked through Tuesday night moving earth to block the burn, Maybell resident Kathey Ogle said she could see smoke nearby but wasn't worried.

"We have a lot of good guys out there, and I knew they could handle it," Ogle said.

Despite the short distance to the town, there were no evacuations.

The fire, which was headed east, moved closer to Maybell as the wind changed.

"The area experienced a brief power outage when a breaker was tripped by heat and smoke from the fire," according to a Northwest Colorado Fire Man--agement Unit release.

The Bitterbrush Fire was the largest of several fires sparked Tuesday afternoon by lightning throughout Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.

BLM spokeswoman Lynn Barclay said that because of dry conditions, the possibility of holdovers still exist and firefighters will remain to watch the site.

Members of the Maybell Volunteer Fire Department, Bureau of Land Management of Craig, National Park Service of Dinosaur and the Moffat County Sheriff's Office were involved in containing the fire.

"This thing was pretty much a running attack with engines," Simpson said about the fire.

Simpson said crews used road graders overnight to make barriers to block the burn.

According to the Colorado Nature Conservancy, wildfires burn about 4.3 million acres in the U.S. annually.

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