Steamboat U.S. Forest Service firefighter burned at Moffat County fire | SteamboatToday.com

Steamboat U.S. Forest Service firefighter burned at Moffat County fire

Matt Stensland and Lauren Blair

A U.S. Forest Service firefighter based out of Steamboat Springs has been at The Memorial Hospital in Craig since Saturday after being burned at a fire.

The firefighter's name was not being released.

Forest Service liaison Mark Cahur said the man, who is in his 20s, was burned across 10 to 12 percent of his legs.

"He's doing well," Cahur said. "He's going to make a full recovery. It's just going to be a matter of time."

Cahur said it is not known for sure how the firefighter received first and second-degree burns.

The firefighter had a chainsaw and was digging fire line at the Temple Fire on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management about 25 miles west of Craig.

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Cahur said the firefighter is originally from Maine.

He is a seasonal firefighter, and this is his first season working out of Steamboat, but this is not his first season fighting fire.

Cahur said the firefighter was wearing the standard Nomex pants that offer protection from fire.

The Temple fire is one of several recent wildfires in Northwest Colorado.

A massive wildfire continues to rage in western Moffat County near the Utah border, with high winds that tripled the fire size overnight to 16,470 acres as of about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Officials still have no containment estimate.

The Dead Dog Fire forced the evacuation of about 50 people from the nearby Deserado Mine Monday night on the fire’s eastern flank, according to Fire Information Officer Dawn Sanchez. Some personnel remained on scene to work to try to protect the mine from the encroaching flames.

Residents from the small community of Blue Mountain were allowed to return home Monday night after being evacuated that afternoon. The towns of Dinosaur and Rangely are not immediately threatened.

The Dead Dog Fire began Sunday on Bureau of Land Management Land about 10 miles north of Rangely and temporarily shut down U.S. Highway 40 between Dinosaur and Skull Creek Monday afternoon when the fire approached within a quarter-mile of the road.

The highway is back open, but several county roads in the area remain closed, including Rio Blanco County Road 1, also known as Blue Mountain Road.

More resources and fire crews have been called in to fight both the Dead Dog Fire and the Hunter Fire southwest of Meeker, which thus far appears to be holding at 1,063 acres since Sunday, Sanchez said.

Sanchez is part of Rocky Mountain Team Black, a Type 2 Incident Management Team that has taken over management of the fires Tuesday to free up local resources.

High winds continued to spread the flames Tuesday, with gusts up to 30 miles per hour predicted by the National Weather Service, despite cooler temperatures. The fire primarily is burning on BLM land and a small amount of private land, though officials have not yet been able to map the perimeter or exact measurements of the fire due to the high winds.

No cause has been determined.

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