Lightning starts Routt County's first significant fire

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Routt County's first significant fire of the season started Monday, the same time that several other small fires were reported in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties.

The Beaver Creek Fire in southwest Routt County started from lightning and burned about 7 acres on Colorado Division of Wildlife state land in the Beaver Creek drainage.

The fire was contained by Wednesday, Fire Information Officer Lynn Barclay said.

Officials responded quickly to suppress the fire, which started behind a DOW barn and cabin. Three engines and a squad of firefighters were sent to the fire and dug a fire line around the barn and cabin to buffer the flames.

Grass, sagebrush and oak brush are the primary types of vegetation being consumed by the fire, Barclay said.

The Plug Hat Fire in Moffat County was reported Monday, as well. That fire was burning only about one-tenth of an acre of BLM land off Harpers Road, which leads to Dinosaur National Monument, Barclay said.

The fire is in an area with good rim rock barriers to limit spread and is not threatening any structures or resources.

Also Wednesday, five small fires were reported in Moffat and Rio Blanco counties. A few were contained by that afternoon, and all had been burning only a single tree and were very small, Barclay said.

The Greasewood Fire outside of Meeker "is winding down," Barclay said. Overcast skies and less wind left fire activity minimal.

The fire had burned almost 8,000 acres as of early this week, up from 6,800 acres last week.

The fire has been managed as a fire-use blaze, which means it's in an area fire managers think should be able to burn to some extent. But, officials are on hand to make sure the fire does not get out of control.

On Wednesday, crews worked to suppress the fire on its east side because it was approaching a road with powerlines on the other side, Barclay said.

The moisture level in area vegetation has dropped significantly during the past few days. That, combined with ongoing drought and insect infestations and diseases, leave vegetation susceptible to fire.

Fire restrictions are not in place in Routt County. To report a wildfire, call 911 or the Craig Interagency Dispatch Center at 826-5037.

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