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Fire Management Unit: Spring Creek fire 90 percent contained

Firefighters working on a wild fire near Rangely reached 90 percent containment by Saturday night, the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit reported.

The Spring Creek fire, located 18 miles southeast of Rangely, in Rio Blanco County on the east fork of Spring Creek, began about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday in a canyon bottom.

The fire did not start by natural causes, firefighters said, and an investigation to determine the exact cause is in progress.

The fire, which encompassed 1,340 acres of private land and Bureau of Land Management property, damaged 15 power poles.

At one point during the week, it had threatened oil and gas infrastructure, additional power poles, and buildings such as a historical cabin and outbuildings.

However, firefighters were able to limit the damage.

Despite high winds with gusts up to 26 miles per hour, crews were able to hold the line Saturday.

“The fire is 90 percent contained and crews are continuing mop up operation by securing the perimeter 30 feet inside the containment line,” the Fire Management Unit reported Saturday night. “Due to extremely steep cliff faces and downed power lines, the remaining 10 percent of the fire is being monitored.”

Because “significant” progress had been made on the fire, resources were diverted Sunday morning. Remaining resources are a helicopter, a one- to five-person squad, a type 1 crew, two engines and various fire personnel.

Rio Blanco County Road 103, which had been closed earlier in the week because of the fire, was expected to be reopened by today.

Bob Lange, a BLM resource advisor, said there will be erosion and sedimentation after the fire.

The fire burned grass, pinyon and juniper trees, Douglas Fir, and mountain mahogany. BLM range staff is considering alternatives for re-vegetation such as seeding and other reclamation activities, the Fire Management Unit reported.