Craig briefs: Wildland fire crews respond to 4 new fires
July 18, 2015
Once again wildland fire crews in Northwest Colorado responded to lightning-caused fires yesterday afternoon in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties on Bureau of Land Management land, according to a BLM news release.
The two incidents in Rio Blanco County are both contained at one-tenth acre. The Taylor Fire occurred nine miles east of Rangely, and the Pipes Fire was 20 miles southwest of Meeker. BLM engines and the U.S. Forest Service Storm Peak module responded to these incidents and were checking them Friday. Fire crews were anticipating escalated fire behavior Friday due to the Red Flag Warning in effect and were prepositioned to respond.
In Moffat County, crews responded to two fires. The Godiva Fire is about ten miles north of Maybell on Godiva Rim and was contained at one-tenth acre by BLM engine crew 1419.
The Red Dirt Fire is approximately 23 miles southwest of Maybell near Elk Springs. It is being managed to allow fire to play its natural role on the land. Benefits include regeneration of vegetation and removal of encroaching pinion/juniper trees. The crew on scene reported the area received some rain last night but observed single tree torching this morning. No structures are threatened and no control problems are anticipated. It is contained at one tenth acre.
The Red Dirt Fire in Moffat County is one of two fires currently being managed for resource benefit in the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit. The other, Hay Canyon Fire in Rio Blanco County, started Tuesday from lightning. Conditions that support the decision to manage wildland fires for benefits include, crew and engine availability, location of the fire, values at risk and overall land management objectives in the fire area. Even though a fire is in management status there are always fire personnel assigned. Firefighters may need to take actions, such as building fire line, to keep a fire in the predetermined area where it will accomplish objectives.
There was a Red Flag Warning in effect Friday from noon until 8 p.m. in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties for low humidity, gusty winds and dry fuels.
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Pest management to take place across county
Moffat County will conduct mosquito larva control daily through October.
Due to the unusually high amount of rain this year, standing water is everywhere. This additional mosquito habitat makes it impractical to aerial spray before the end of June.
Aerial spraying for broad area adult mosquitoes took place June 30 through July 3 in the city of Craig and surrounding county areas.
Spraying times will be on a weather-permitting basis, early morning or early evening.
County crews treat the golf course from 9 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday. Loudy-Simpson Park is treated at the conclusion of each treatment schedule. Adult and larva work is conducted at Shadow Mountain and Maybell on an as-needed basis.
While the department tries to treat Loudy-Simpson Park and the golf course during times when people aren't present, if you do notice the department spraying in the area, avoid coming into contact with the spray.
Special events and circumstances occasionally alter schedules.
BLM advises to learn before you burn
It doesn't take long for fire danger to increase once snow begins to melt, according to a news release from the Bureau of Land Management. Combine that with warm, windy conditions and brush and grass dry out quickly. A wind-whipped fire in quick-burning, dormant vegetation can cause a burn to easily become uncontrollable.
Federal and state land management agencies obtain weather forecasts from the National Weather Service before igniting any controlled burn and so should residents. Your local National Weather Service office can be contacted 24 hours a day at 970-243-7007 or visit its website at weather.gov/gjt for fire weather forecasts.
Fire has been used as a land management tool for generations. It's used to clear land of debris and excess plant material, promote grass regeneration and replenish nutrients to the soil. While spring offers optimal burn conditions, dead vegetation can carry fire through green plants and pose control issues, especially on windy days. Observing the following tips will provide a safer environment for debris and agricultural burning.
■ Contact your local county sheriff's office before burning and obtain required burn permits
■ Call the National Weather Service at 970-243-7007 and get the predicted weather conditions for your burn day
■ Don't burn on windy days
■ Notify your neighbors of your plans to burn as a matter of safety and courtesy
■ Ready water and equipment — Have a reliable water source and have shovels, rakes and equipment on hand
■ Establish fire breaks — Create fire lines by digging to bare dirt and removing flammable material
■ Try to burn into the wind as this will slow the rate of spread and makes the fire easier to manage
■ Stay with the fire at all times — Never leave a fire unattended
■ Have plenty of help — More people, more control
■ Ensure the fire is out cold before leaving the area; smoldering embers have ignited unattended fires
■ Call 911 if fire burns out of control — The longer you wait, the bigger the fire becomes before help arrives
Remember: Your fire is your responsibility.
Should an agricultural or debris fire damage other private, state or federally managed lands, you could receive a fine or be held responsible for the cost of the damage and impacts.