Officials: Fire danger high in Northwest Colorado

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The 37-acre Big Ridge Fire was reported at 5:30 p.m. Monday, and is located six miles southeast of Rangely on Bureau of Land Management public land, according to a news release from the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit.

The Rangely Rural Fire Protection District initially responded to the lightning-caused incident, but was unable to find access to the fire.

Assigned to fight the fire are two 20-person hot shot crews and two helicopters. No structures are immediately threatened.

Fire danger is very high to extreme in all areas of Northwest Colorado, the fire management unit reported.

Some recent incidents have been caused by unattended campfires and sparks from equipment or vehicles.

“It’s very dry out there, and vegetation is ready to burn,” said Mark Rogers, a Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit officer, in the release. “The potential for rapid fire growth is extremely high.”

County, state and federal land managers are urging the public to be careful with all outdoor fires. A few reminders for safe fire use are:

• Do not light any fire on windy days and check the weather forecast.

• Always have a shovel and water available when using fire outdoors.

• Build campfires on bare soil and clear an area 10 feet in diameter around the campfire ring.

• Never leave a campfire unattended — to do so is a finable offense — and douse with water and dirt until the area is cool to the touch.

• Discard cigarettes and matches only when dead out and cold.

• Don’t park in high grass or brush — hot tailpipes can cause fires.

There are no fire restrictions in effect in Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt, Jackson and Grand counties. To report a wildfire, call 911 or 826-5037.

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