Bench Fire ignites in Dinosaur National Monument | CraigDailyPress.com

Bench Fire ignites in Dinosaur National Monument

Craig Daily Press Staff Report

The Bench Fire in Dinosaur National Monument is estimated to be between 700 and 800 acres and is 40 percent contained as of Monday. The fire was cause by a lightning storm on Friday, according to park officials.

Fire crews from Dinosaur National Monument and additional agencies are working to suppress the Bench Fire located north of Yampa Bench Road, about two miles west of Haystack Rock.

According to a news release from the National Park Service, the fire was between 400 and 500 acres on Saturday evening.

By Monday afternoon, the fire had grown to between 700 to 800 acres was 40 percent contained.

No updates were available on the fire Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was first spotted by a lookout in the Round Top Fire Tower after a lightning storm on Friday. Several other fires were ignited east of the monument from the same storm, the news release states.

Firefighters are employing minimum impact suppression tactics and conditions are predicted to remain hot, windy and dry.

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"This will hinder suppression actions and require additional resources, including several more 20-person hand crews. Aircraft will be using water drops to assist crews working on the ground," according to the NPS.

The section of Yampa Bench Road between Thanksgiving Gorge and Castle Park Overlook is currently closed.

"Fire crews are holding the southern edge of the fire at the Yampa Bench Road and continue to make progress using minimum impact suppression tactics," Sonya Popelka, the monument’s interpretive operations supervisor, wrote in an email.