Northwest Colorado fire officials busy over weekend

The Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit reported about two dozen wildland fires occurred over the weekend beginning Friday afternoon.

Lightning was the cause of all fires except one, which was a vehicle fire.

The majority of fires occurred on Bureau of Land Management land in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.

There were four responses on private land in Moffat County, one at Routt National Forest and another on private land in Jackson County.

The Box Elder and Forget Me Not fires, located 20 miles southeast of Rangely in Rio Blanco County, are being managed for multiple objectives.

Sitting one-and-a-half miles apart, the two incidents are near a Shell oil and gas facility on BLM land.

“By allowing the fires to remove vegetation in that area, it will benefit wildlife habitat and help protect the Shell facility,” fire officials reported. “Natural barriers to the northwest and fuel breaks established by (the) BLM to the east, west and north will aid in keeping the fires within a predetermined area.”

“We started working on the hazardous fuel breaks around the Shell resources in 2009,” said Garner Harris, zone fire management officer. “This is a fire prone area, and our planning and work has helped in managing these fires.”

Engine crews and a hand squad are on the scene to take holding actions if it becomes necessary, fire officials reported.

The fires are under three acres.

The Chew Fire was the largest of the weekend incidents at 50 acres on private land. The fire has been contained.

In addition to the BLM, National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service engines, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, Colorado State Forest Service, Maybell Fire Department and North Park Fire Rescue engines have responded to incidents over the weekend, as well as a helicopter.

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