New fire in Moffat County being contained for land benefits

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A new lightning-caused fire ignited Saturday approximately one mile east of Little Bears Ears peak, which is 25 miles northwest of Maybell in Moffat County.

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

The fire was named the Kodiak Fire and is currently burning 54 acres of thick pinion and juniper trees on Bureau of Land Management land.

Fire managers with the BLM Little Snake Field Office in Craig are managing the fire for its positive benefits to the area, said BLM spokeswoman Lynn Barclay.

“They haven’t established a hard expected containment yet. They’re just getting the crew, the one 20-person crew, on the fire today," she said. "We want this fire to do some benefit for wildlife management and fuel reduction."

The fire is burning in an area where BLM had planned on doing a prescribed burn. Currently, three engine crews are working to create a black line around the fire.

“A black line is when they take their drip torches and make a line around the fire to keep it contained to the area we had preplanned. We're establishing a fire perimeter to hold the fire where we want it and allow it to burn as long as it's meeting the objectives and safe to do so,” Barclay said. “We want to hold it in that designated area. We’re taking advantage of this natural ignition in an area that we were going to do some work and management for the benefit of the area.”

A Veterans Green Corps and Rocky Mountain Youth Corps fire crew will arrive at the scene in the late afternoon Monday for their first wildfire assignment. The crew was trained in Craig in the spring by BLM fire personnel.

Two smaller lighting-caused fires were reported and contained in Rio Blanco on Sunday. Both were on BLM White River Field Office. The Pinto Mesa Fire was one-tenth acre and the Drop Kick Fire was one-half acre.

Fire danger is high in Moffat County and moderate in Rio Blanco, Routt, Jackson and Grand counties.

Noelle Leavitt Riley can be reached at 970-875-1790 or nriley@craigdailypress.com.

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