Thursday, August 12, 2004
High winds and dry vegetation kept the West Routt Fire Protection District busy Thursday while crews fought a structure fire and a brush fire.
A fire destroyed two sheds and damaged another at 6985 Routt County Road 65, just a few miles west of Hayden. The home, which is owned by Gleta Gae Magnuson, was not damaged.
Shortly after putting the structure fires out, the West Routt crew was called to a brush fire about two miles from U.S. Highway 40 on C.R. 52. That fire burned about 2 acres of pastures on the Buffalo K Ranch.
The structure fire started at about 2 p.m. Thursday. Magnuson said she was eating lunch when she heard crackling and looked outside to see a coal shed burning about 25 feet from her home.
By the time Magnuson phoned for help, the fire had moved to the second structure.
Mark Standridge, the first firefighter on scene and the incident commander, said by the time the fire department arrived, the two buildings were engulfed in flames and that the fire was moving to the third structure and was in danger of spreading to a hillside behind it.
Standridge sprayed water on the hillside behind the third structure. A brush truck was sent to the southeast corner of the property in case the fire spread.
"Because of the wind and dry grass around the structure, it just made the fire really fast," Standridge said.
Smoke could be seen even before the trucks left the fire station, he said.
Standridge was not sure how the fire started, but noted a trash can was next to the coal shed and that a wire hung above the building. The fire spread to other structures through the grass and was helped along by the winds.
The buildings were constructed before Magnuson moved to the property in 1951, she said.
She used the first building to store coal and chicken feed, Magnuson said, adding she worried what her chickens would eat that night with all the feed destroyed.
The second building was a garage where she kept her pickup, power tools and a lawn mower. All were destroyed in the fire. Lumber stacked against the garage also was destroyed.
The third building, which was about 6 feet by 6 feet, was for storage and had rugs and other household items.
The West Routt Fire Protection District responded with two engines, two water tenders, a brush truck and an ambulance. Standridge said he called in backup from the Steamboat Springs Fire Department to give his men relief. The Steamboat fire department brought seven workers and an engine. Seventeen firefighters were on scene.
At about 4:20 p.m., the second fire broke out near Mount Harris.
About 2 acres of land burned along fence lines on the property.
Five of the firefighters from the structure fire went to the brush fire. An engine and water tender also went to the fire.
The firefighters put out one section of the fire using hoses from the engine. Another section of the fire, which was heading up a hill, was put out with water pumps from backpacks the firefighters carried, incident commander Dan Parrott said.
The fire was extinguished in about 15 minutes, Parrott said. He was unsure how the fire started.
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