Firefighters contain blaze Saturday night near Colowyo |

Firefighters contain blaze Saturday night near Colowyo

Officials: Downed power line sparked grass fire

Bridget Manley
Firefighters battle a blaze Saturday night near Colowyo Coal Co. The fire was reported at about 7:45 p.m. and had scorched an estimated 80 acres by about 8:30 p.m.
Bridget Manley
Emergency responders keep a close lookout over the Colowyo Fire on Saturday near Colowyo Coal Co. as the sun sets. Craig Fire/Rescue, the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, The Memorial Hospital EMS and Colowyo employees responded to the blaze.Bridget Manley

Dennis Jones, Craig/Fire Rescue battalion chief, confirmed late Saturday night a fire burning on land owned by Colowyo Coal Co. had been contained.

No structures were damaged in the fire on Moffat County Road 17, named the Colowyo Fire, although a Colowyo office complex was threatened, he said.

Officials determined a downed power line caused the grass fire, which is still estimated to have burned about 80 acres, Craig/Fire Rescue reported in a news release.

Jones commended Colowyo employees for their efforts to quell the blaze.

They “did a real good job” using motor graders to create a fire line, he said.

“It was a mutual effort on (the part of) several agencies.”

Craig Fire/Rescue sent three apparatuses to the blaze, which was reported at about 7:45 p.m. One engine each from Colowyo and the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office also helped battle the flames that burned on land belonging to the mine.

Preventing a coal fire was one of Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Bill Johnston’s top concerns in the firefighting effort, Jones said.

“When you contain a fire like that, you’ve always got to think about where it’s going to go,” he said.

The Memorial Hospital EMS also came on scene, although no injuries or fatalities were reported, Johnston said.

Sixteen people, not including Colowyo employees, responded the fire, he said.

The weather worked in firefighters’ favor as they doused the flames.

“(The winds) were terrible when it started, but it died down … thank goodness,” Johnston said.

3 more fires reported Sunday

Craig Fire/Rescue also responded to a report of smoke Sunday afternoon at Cox Brothers Sawmill, about 10 miles north of Craig on Moffat County Road 27.

The first engine on scene was able to contain and put out the fire, which measured about 30 feet wide. A shorted electrical cord that sparked nearby sawdust was determined to be the cause, Johnston said.

“It was real close to a structure,” but no structures were damaged, he said.

Two Craig/Fire Rescue engines and a tender responded to fire, which was reported at about 1:45 p.m.

Moffat County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Sheriff Tim Jantz also arrived on the scene, along with The Memorial Hospital EMS. No injuries or fatalities were reported.

Craig Fire/Rescue responded to another fire Sunday, reported at about 6:30 p.m. in a vacant lot near the intersection of 14th Street and Yampa Avenue.

A juvenile reportedly started the fire with a lighter, Johnston said.

The 17 firefighters on scene with three engines were able to put out the small blaze before it reached surrounding homes.

“We got there pretty quick and got it out,” Johnston said.

About five or six structures were threatened, but none were damaged, he said.

The Memorial Hospital EMS also responded, but no injuries or fatalities were reported, he said.

The fire scorched the bottom of several power poles on the lot, but none were substantially damaged.

“I called Yampa Valley Electric and they inspected the polls and said they’re fine,” Johnston said.

At about 9:45 p.m., Craig Fire/Rescue firefighters arrived at 410 Elmwood St. for a report of a structure fire. They extinguished a small fire in the home’s water heater and remained on scene to make sure the flames had not spread, Craig Fire/Rescue Lt. Matt Beckett said.

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