Summer fire season begins |

Summer fire season begins

Ryan Sheridan

Tuesday saw firefighters begin to battle what is expected to be a fiery summer, as Craig Fire/Rescue responded to two calls for brush fires. Firefighters dealt with high winds while attempting to extinguish two uncontrolled burning blazes west of Craig.

“If this is a taste of what will be happening this summer, it is going to be a wild and crazy summer,” Craig Fire Chief Roy Mason said. “Between the (Bureau of Land Management) and us, I hope we have enough to handle the demand.”

Colorado is beginning a dry summer, and a catastrophic drought is expected. Gov. Bill Owens has asked that the state be labeled as a “drought emergency” area because of the arid conditions.

The first call came in at noon and sent firefighters to a field one mile southeast of Moffat County Road 30. A tanker truck and three engines responded.

A quarter acre was burned, but the cause of the fire was undetermined, Mason said.

“It was burning pretty good when we got there, and the high winds made things worse,” he said. “We saw gusts of up to 30 mph, and that made us work a little longer than normal.”

Firefighters battled the blaze for three hours.

The second call came at 4:15 p.m., sending Craig Fire/Rescue to mile marker 81 on Highway 113, near the abandoned Empire Energy mine. Firefighters had to deal with a fire set by the wind blowing embers from a large fire pit into nearby trees and grass.

The fire pit had been used to burn cottonwood trees several days ago, but was not properly extinguished, Mason said.

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