5,000 lightning bolts hit area Sunday, cause minor fires

Accompanying rain minimizes number and size of new fires

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The Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit announced today that in spite of heavy thunderstorm activity Sunday, rain helped curtail the number of new fires in the area.

According to the news release, fire crews responded to five new fires today — three in Moffat County, one in Rio Blanco County and one in Routt National Forest — after more than 5,000 lightning strikes hit Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt, Jackson and Grand counties Sunday night.

All five fires were less than one tenth of an acre in size and are all contained.

Fire crews also checked Monday on three incidents from the weekend.

The Ladore Fire, two miles northwest of the Gates of Ladore in the Bureau of Land Management Diamond Breaks Wilderness Study area, was ignited by lightning at about 5:15 p.m. Friday. New reports estimate the size of the Ladore blaze at about 320 acres.

The Ladore Fire received a quarter of an inch of rain Sunday evening, but hot spots remain, according to the release. A six-person hand crew is building fireline to keep the fire from further spreading into Dinosaur National Monument.

Because the Ladore Fire is in such a remote location, fire officials are allowing it to burn naturally to clean up dead and down vegetation. The six-person hand crew is monitoring the fire in the event suppression activities are necessary.

Fire authorities are also allowing the Skillet Fire, near Mosquito Lake in Routt National Forest, to burn for environmental benefits.

No structures are currently threatened and no injuries have been reported.

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