Firefighters battle estimated 2,000-acre wildfire near Craig |

Firefighters battle estimated 2,000-acre wildfire near Craig

Bridget Manley

— A fire first reported as two acres Tuesday about 10 miles west of Craig is thought to have burned roughly 2,000 acres and prompted evacuations in the Westview Subdivision.

No injuries or fatalities were reported in the blaze and no structures were burned. One home was threatened by the fire but was saved, Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz said.

He stressed that figures on the blaze's acreage still are rough estimates.

The blaze was reported at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Personnel responded to the fire from Craig Fire/Rescue, the Bureau of Land Management, Moffat County Sheriff's Office, The Memorial Hospital in Craig's EMS and the U.S. Forest Service, the sheriff said.

The blaze began near mile marker 79 on U.S. Highway 40.

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"We don't have any purported lightning in the area," Jantz said.

The cause behind the fire is "undetermined but under investigation," he added.

The fire moved quickly, promĀ­pting evacuations of several households along Moffat County Road 81 and part of the Westview Subdivision.

Evacuation notices were delivered via a reverse 911 system and door-to-door visits from sheriff's deputies, Jantz said.

A temporary shelter for livestock was set up at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. The building also was open to evacuees, but most stayed with family members, Jantz said.

The evacuation was lifted later Tuesday night and residents were allowed to return to their homes.

A pre-evacuation notice also was issued to Western Knolls through the reverse 911 system and deputies, but the area was not evacuated.

Preserving lives and property were top concerns, and residents were notified as the fire spread, Jantz said.

Emergency responders also battled another blaze sparked Tuesday near Baggs, Wyo.

As of about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Willow Fire had crossed the state line and was burning uncontained near Slater, but no evacuation notices had been issued.

Back at the fire west of Craig, one sheriff's office engine was scheduled to remain on the scene until at least 1:30 a.m. Wednesday to ensure the fire didn't flare up.

Providing the blaze did not revive, cleanup efforts are scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday.

"Right now, people are extremely concerned about fire and this is an example of why," Jantz said Tuesday night.

Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Bill Johnston said 25 of his 29 volunteer firefighters responded to the call.

"They performed excellently, but it was a team effort among all of the responding agencies," the fire chief said. "I hope this is a good example for all of Moffat County residents of how dry it is and how serious the fire danger is."

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