Steamboat firefighters knock down Elk River Estates wildfire |

Steamboat firefighters knock down Elk River Estates wildfire

Blaze grew to half-acre but did not reach nearby homes

— Steamboat Springs Fire Rescue firefighters on Monday morning quickly knocked down a half-acre wildfire in the Elk River Estates before it could spread to nearby homes.

"We caught a lucky break today," Capt. Scott Hetrick said as he and other firefighters sprayed foam on charred sagebrush and oak trees on a property a few miles north of Steamboat Springs. "We’re very, very lucky the wind didn’t catch this."

Hetrick said all of Steamboat’s firefighting resources responded to the fire. The West Routt Fire Protection District also was called out initially to help defend nearby structures. The help wasn’t needed as firefighters from Steamboat arrived and quickly contained the blaze.

Routt County Undersheriff Ray Birch said investigators think the fire, which burned behind a home on Oak Leaf Way, was caused by a lightning strike that smoldered vegetation for as many as a couple of days.

A representative from Yampa Valley Electric Association and firefighters determined that the power lines that run above the area of the fire were not to blame.

Regardless of the cause, Hetrick said the fire is another reminder of the continued fire danger locally.

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"Fire danger is still in full effect," he said.

There currently are no fire restrictions in the area where the blaze occurred. All restrictions have been lifted for Routt National Forest, unincorporated areas and state land in Routt County as well as the towns of Oak Creek and Hayden.

Stage 2 restrictions remain in effect in the town of Yampa and the city of Steamboat Springs. Yampa is expected to remain at Stage 2 restrictions until Sept. 24, when the ordinance expires. Steamboat’s fire restrictions could be lifted Sept. 14 if the move is approved on a second reading by the Steamboat Springs City Council on Sept. 4. Stage 2 restrictions prohibit fires, even those contained to fire rings at campgrounds.

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email

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