Lightning strike ignites wildfire in Piceance Basin

— A 9-acre wildfire burning on federal land in the Piceance Basin in Rio Blanco County was being allowed to continue to burn Friday.

Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit fire crews are on the scene of the lightning-caused wildfire in Willow Creek. The fire, burning in piñon juniper on Bureau of Land Management land, is not threatening any structures and no injuries have been reported.

Because no structures are threatened, BLM fire officials have decided to take advantage of the opportunity by allowing the fire to continue to burn for resource management benefits.

“Fire is a natural part of the environment and some of these areas in Northwest Colorado have not had fire in a long time,” said Christopher Joyner, public affairs specialist for the fire management unit.

Firefighters are treating the fire as a prescribed burn and will not extinguish it until more firefighting resources are made available Saturday.

Three Type 6 engines, one Type 4 engine and a hot shots crew based out of Craig are on the scene.

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