County takes standby approach to area fires |

County takes standby approach to area fires

Protection of local fire district remains top priority

Josh Nichols

Although three wild fires of more than 1,500 acres are burning in neighboring Routt County, no engines or personnel from Moffat County or Craig fire crews have been sent to assist.

Craig Fire Chief Roy Mason said agencies in the two counties and cities have an agreement in assisting one another.

“They haven’t called us yet,” Mason said. “We’d probably be a last resort for structure protection.”

If local crews did receive a call for assistance from the Steamboat Springs area, Mason said the local department would assist as much as it could without affecting its level of preparedness in the Craig area.

“If they call we’ll send one truck maybe one brush truck or one engine,” he said. “We always need to keep trucks in the district so we can protect the local tax payers. That’s always our first priority.”

Moffat County Sheriff Buddy Grinstead said if the sheriff’s department received a call to assist right now it would not be able to send anyone.

“If we did a get call to help them I would not send anybody because of the current number of employees on vacation,” Grinstead said. “We need to make sure we can meet our own needs.”

Because the fires are on federal land, they are being handled mostly by federal agencies, Grinstead said.

The sheriff’s department would more likely be called to assist with fires on private land, he said.

One of the three major fires, the Green Creek Fire burning 15 miles southeast of Steamboat Springs, was at about 2,500 acres Wednesday.

Another fire burning in the Flattops Wilderness, called the Lost Lakes Fire, was burning at 1,750 acres.

The Hinman Fire was burning 1,950 acres of land north of Steamboat Springs.

Even though national resources are stretched thin, local initial attack resources are adequate in the Craig/Routt Fire Management Unit, according to a press release by the Craig Interagency Dispatch Center.

“Right now we have the resources we need,” said Punky Moore, fire information officer at the Craig Interagency Dispatch Center. “We don’t want the public to think we’re so short-handed that we can’t respond to new fires.”

Initial attack resources responded to a new fire in the Routt National Forest just east of the Hinman Fire.

Because of it’s proximity to the Hinman Fire, the initial response team had to pull out but it is continuing to monitor the new fire,

Moore said.

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