Machinery sparks North Routt forest fire | CraigDailyPress.com
Breaking: Update: Fire near U.S. 40 west of Maybell suppressed
Matt Stensland

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Machinery sparks North Routt forest fire

A small plane dives through the smoke to deliver fire retardant to the Mill Creek fire in North Routt County.

The smoke plume that erupted in North Routt County on Saturday afternoon was due to a human-caused fire that burned 116 acres of private land.

Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins said the fire was started by someone building a fire line with a bulldozer.

Wiggins said heavy moss caught on fire.

The Mill Creek fire destroyed the bulldozer and spread quickly into the woods northwest of Pilot Knob near Routt County Road 80 in California Park.

"As far as we know, it's all on private land," Wiggins said.

Because of hot and dry weather in the forecast, firefighters aggressively fought the fire from the air.

A plane dropped retardant to help protect a home, and a large tanker made a drop.

The fire burned in heavy timber that was littered with beetle-killed lodgepole pine trees.

Wiggins said there are also numerous log piles in the woods left over from old logging operations.

"Lots of fuel up there," Wiggins said.

By early Saturday evening, firefighters were able to begin digging a fire line.

Firefighters from North Routt, West Routt and Oak Creek; the Bureau of Land Management; and the U.S. Forest Service responded.

Two Hot Shots crews were scheduled to arrive Sunday.

The fire was being managed by Routt County Emergency Management and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control.