Courtesy of Walt Vanatta

Crews battle Cedar Mountain blaze

Officials working to determine cause of 75-acre fire

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— Northwest Colorado agencies are working to contain what authorities described as a “wildland urban interface fire” near Cedar Mountain.

The Cedar Fire, as named by the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit, began about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday on Bureau of Land Management public land. It is burning at the base of Cedar Mountain, off Moffat County Road 7, five miles northwest of Craig.

Officials are working to determine the fire’s origin and cause, according to a news release from the fire management unit.

“Winds pushed the fire eastward initially, but then followed the drainages and ran uphill towards the communication towers at the top of Cedar Mountain,” fire officials reported.

The fire spread across about 75 acres Tuesday. Officials expect the fire to be contained by 6 p.m. today.

Agencies that responded initially with fire engines were the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, Craig Fire/Rescue and the BLM. Yampa Valley Electric Association and The Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Medical Services also had personnel at the scene.

No injuries have been reported, but the fire has consumed one outbuilding.

Two single engine air tankers were ordered to drop retardant around the communication site to aid firefighters by slowing the fire’s progression.

YVEA shut off power for a short time Tuesday to allow replacement of a damaged power pole.

Two 20-person hotshot crews are on order and expected to arrive today from Wyoming and South Dakota. A nine-person squad arrived Tuesday to aide in containing the fire.

About 27 people were assigned to the fire site, including seven U.S. Forest Service firefighters.

“The main objective was to keep this wildfire from reaching homes or the communication towers,” incident commander Dale Beckerman said in the release. “Fire behavior has calmed down considerably and crews have worked diligently to get a handle on this incident.”

Communication towers on Cedar Mountain include those used by Moffat County, Colorado State Patrol, Public Service, KRAI, Tri-State Generation & Trans-

mission, Mountain West Communications, Northwest Towers, Western Area Tower Association, Colorado Public Radio, Union Telephone and Verizon Wireless.

Northwest Colorado residents are advised that Cedar Mountain’s recreation area is closed until the fire is contained.

Officials also request residents avoid Moffat County Road 7 if possible due to heavy traffic in the area.

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