Cause of Bender Mountain Fire human-caused, but arson ruled out
The Bender Mountain Fire continues to burn near the Three Corners — the Utah-Colorado-Wyoming border — and was “holding steady” at 4,104 acres, with 60 percent containment, according to the official Friday, Sept. 7, evening incident report.
While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, the Bureau of Land Management has determined it was human-caused, but arson is not suspected at this time.
“There are many reasons a fire might be started by someone but not considered arson. While this fire was human-caused, it does not appear to have been arson,” said fire spokesman Geoff Liesik.
Liesik also said the Bender Mountain fire is unrelated to recent fires along Utah highways and I-80 that are suspected to have been caused by arson.
“The fire is about 65 miles south of the I-80 corridor and about 20 miles east of U.S. Highway 191 in a remote area near the Three Corners,” Liesik said.
The Bender Mountain Fire was reported Sunday, Sept. 2, in Utah, and in the ensuing 24 hours, it grew rapidly to more than 2,500 acres. It was burning in various fuel types and has crossed the border into Colorado. The fire has impacted a mix of public and private lands.
As of Friday, it was “actively being fought with an incident command post at the John Jarvie Ranch,” Liesik said. “The fire received some rain today, and crews made good progress securing and adding depth to containment lines.”
The fire is being managed as a type 3 incident. Crews worked Friday to build and secure direct and indirect containment lines with the assistance of 10 engines, one helicopter, one bulldozer, one water tender, and one potable water truck.
No injuries to humans or livestock have been reported. No evacuations have been ordered, and no structures are threatened. All roads in the vicinity remained open as of Friday evening.
Agencies responding to the fire included firefighters from the BLM in Rock Springs, the Rock Springs Fire Department, and the Sweetwater County Fire Department, all from Wyoming, in addition to crews from Utah and Colorado.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.
June 5, 1920 dawned with clear blue skies and little if any wind; ideal conditions for an event that had drawn hundreds, possibly thousands, of people to Craig, Colorado.