4 small fires break out on Western Slope | CraigDailyPress.com

4 small fires break out on Western Slope

Erin Fenner

— Four small wildfires broke out along the Western Slope on Sunday because of lightning.

The Bureau of Land Management responded to the fires with crews and air support.

"There was just one fire in Moffat County, and that was the one that was just outside of Maybell," said Lynn Barclay, Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit public information officer.

It burned only about one-tenth of an acre before being contained by the BLM, Moffat County Sheriff's Office and Maybell Volunteer Fire Department, Barclay said.

Two other comparably sized blazes broke out in the Piceance Basin and were contained within the day.

The largest wildfire, dubbed The Big Jimmy, currently is scorching about 11 acres in the Piceance Basin, 20 miles south of Meeker. About 15 people are working on the ground with the fire, and a helicopter was ordered for water drop, Barclay said.

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"The helicopter dropped some water on it, and an engine went out (Monday) to mop it up," she said.

While there hasn't been much of an update as of Monday, Barclay is confident it will be a manageable burn.

"They were continuing to build a fire line," she said. They "didn't order additional resources and didn't order the helicopters for water drop so that tells me they're getting a handle on it. "

Barclay cautioned Moffat County residents to take care when involved in recreation activities since vegetation is drying out.

"From here on out, when (you're) outdoors, just be aware of the area you're in," she said.

Craig Fire Chief KC Hume seconded that caution.

"As we move from (spring) to early summer — as things dry out — it's reasonable and prudent to exercise caution when recreating outdoors, either when it's camping or just out on the high desert plains in the outdoors or even in your own backyard," Hume said. "Things will get crunchy or certainly dry out, and the fire danger, we’ll see it increase steadily over the course of the summer."

Contact Erin Fenner at 970-875-1794 or efenner@CraigDailyPress.com.