Saturday, August 16, 2003
A small fire that authorities believe was sparked by lightning erupted within two miles of Steamboat Lake on Saturday afternoon, Routt County Sheriff John Warner said.
The fire was reported about 4:30 p.m. and was contained about 10 p.m.
Within the first hour after it was reported, the fire had consumed one tree and a quarter-acre of underbrush on U.S. Forest Service land, Warner said. The closest home was that of Thomas Elmblad, more than a mile away.
Three fire trucks from the North Routt Fire Protection District and a water truck from the Forest Service were able to drive within a quarter-mile of the blaze, Warner said.
Hand crews created a fire line and sprayed water on hot spots of the fire for about five hours to contain it, Warner said.
A storm over Northwest Colorado on Saturday created lightning that sparked several fires. The Craig Interagency Dispatch Center reported six new lightning-caused fires Saturday, all of which were kept small by initial attack crews.
Warner said he was 99 percent sure the Steamboat Lake fire was caused by lightning.
Lightning caused a much larger fire Friday, 27 miles Northwest of Grand Junction, which grew to more than 70 acres Saturday. By 9 p.m. Saturday, the fire was 30 percent contained by 62 firefighters, including hand crews, smoke jumpers and a helicopter.
The Sawtooth fire, 20 miles northeast of Steamboat Springs, is burning about 200 acres, according to the Craig Interagency Dispatch Center. The fire has burned beetle-killed spruce and a few small patches of the blowdown. Crews canceled plans to conduct burnouts Saturday along the south side of the North Fork of the Elk River to prevent the fire from crossing the river.
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