Fire season keeps Moffat County firefighters busy this week |

Fire season keeps Moffat County firefighters busy this week

Patrick Kelly
Crews from Craig Fire/Rescue work to extinguish the Bend Fire on Moffat County Road 31 on Thursday.
Patrick Kelly

After a busy Wednesday, the action continued for firefighters in Moffat County on Thursday.

The southern end of the county the Milk Fire, which began Wednesday shortly after 2 p.m., has grown to 300 acres on the east side of south Colorado Highway 13 between mileposts 66 and 61.

David Boyd, public affairs Specialist for the BLM Northwest Colorado District, said two helicopters, four engines — two from BLM and two from Moffat County Sheriff’s office — and two hand crews are currently working on the fire, which is burning on BLM land. As of Thursday evening, the fire was 50 percent contained.

“We’ve been able to put a lot of resources on the fire pretty quickly,” said Boyd. “That’s helped us.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation and Boyd said he would have a better idea of the when it is expected to be contained Thursday afternoon.

Around 8:30 a.m. Thursday, fire crews were called to the 5-acre Bend Fire near an uninhabited home on Moffat County Road 31. The outside of the home was damaged but firefighters were able to prevent the fire from spreading inside the structure and contained it in about one hour, said Craig Fire/Rescue Chief KC Hume.

Three engines and one water tender from Craig Fire/Rescue responded to the fire, which Hume said was caused by squirrel that got singed on a utility pole.

The Bale Fire near Elkhead Reservoir was contained by 8:30 p.m. Wednesday but several large hay bales are still producing visible columns of smoke, Hume said.

That fire was caused by haying operations, he said.

Maxing out at 175 acres, the Bale Fire, which burned on private property and threatened two structures, took about six hours of effort, and multiple agencies, to contain.

“Wind and weather conditions proved to be problematic,” Hume said.

Craig Fire/Rescue provided two water tenders, four engines while BLM and West Routt Fire Protection District each provided an engine, he said.

In Dinosaur National Monument, fire crews are continuing suppression efforts on the Bench Fire, approximately two miles west of Haystock Rock.

The fire was spotted after a lightning storm Friday and has not seen significant growth since Sunday, according to a news release from the National Park Service.

Estimated containment as of Wednesday afternoon was 85 percent and the road closure between Castle Park Overlook and Thanksgiving Gorge has been lifted.

“Local resources will continue to check and monitor the fire over the next several weeks,” according to the NPS.

Currently, there are no fire restrictions in Moffat or Routt counties.

Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.Contact Patrick Kelly at 970-875-1795 or or follow him on Twitter @M_PKelly.

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