Lightning cause behind fires |

Lightning cause behind fires

Brian Smith

A 340-acre fire burning 20 miles northeast of Rangely was reported to be 70 percent contained as of Sunday afternoon.

Firefighters are expecting to have the fire completely contained by Monday night, according to a news release from the Bureau of Land Management.

The fire was reported Friday afternoon and was caused by lightning, according to the release.

No structures were threatened by the fire, the BLM reported.

About 60 firefighters are assigned to fight the fire, including personnel from the Craig and Roosevelt hot shot crews, two Moffat County Sheriff's Office engines, two BLM engines and one helicopter.

According to the BLM, dry vegetation and windy conditions are the primary contributors of the fire, which is burning through pinyon and juniper trees, sagebrush and grass on BLM public land.

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The helicopter made fire retardant drops to slow the fire's spread so that firefighters could work the fire line. Burn scars from previous fires in the area acted as a natural buffer to hinder the fire's ability to spread, according to the release.

Firefighters successfully held fire lines during periods of high winds associated with thunderstorms Saturday afternoon, according to the release.

Several other wildfires were reported in the area over the weekend.

Two smaller wildfires were reported in the Rio Blanco County, but were contained by Saturday night.

A smaller fire in Moffat County was expected to be contained by Sunday night.

All three of the smaller fires were less than a quarter acre, according to the release.

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