Active wildfire season continues in Routt County | SteamboatToday.com

Active wildfire season continues in Routt County

The Big Red fire burns Sunday night in North Routt County.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It has been a very active fire season, and it is not over yet.

In the past week, Routt County has seen fires started from lightning, a bullet ricochet and haying equipment.

"It's definitely dry out there," Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue Chief Mel Stewart said.

Monsoonal rains brought good rains in July, but the persistent hot and dry weather returned in August.

"We're back to where we were at Fourth of July," said Stewart, who was forced to cancel Steamboat's fireworks.

On Monday, Steamboat firefighters had help from other departments to fight a fire off of Routt County Road 33. A hay baler had caught a field on fire and burned about five acres.

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Area departments also worked together Saturday to put out a fire that was started at the shooting range near Yampa by a ricochet from a bullet.

In western Routt County, the West Routt Fire Protection District has been dealing with a fire started by lightning Saturday on private property on Wolf Mountain.

Chief Dal Leck said it was a rather small fire at 1.6 acres, but the heavy timber in the area made it difficult to put out. A bulldozer was used to build a fire break and to create an access for firefighters.

"We didn't want it to get away," Leck said. "I think it's pretty well out today.”

The largest active fire in the county is in the Routt National Forest at an area known as Big Red Park five miles south of the Wyoming state line.

The lightning-caused fire was estimated to be about 231 acres.

There were 70 people working at the fire. Firefighters are building fire line south of the fire to protect a timber sale and private land.

About 1.5 miles of roads near the fire have been closed to the public.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland.

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