20-acre wildfire near Carbondale prompts evacuations
A wildfire that grew to 20 acres Friday afternoon in the lower Crystal River Valley prompted the evacuation of a housing area and campground and closed Colorado 133.
At about 9:30 p.m. the crews concluded fire fighting efforts for the night, leaving an engine, crew and a Pitkin County deputy to patrol the area. At the end of the day fire crews had the blaze about 25 percent contained.
Officials said shortly before 7 p.m. that the highway would be closed for at least two hours. And a Pitkin County alert about an hour later said the highway would be open to one alternating lane until about 3 a.m.
Saturday’s continued fire operations may call for more single lane closures after 6 a.m., according to a press release.
Homes along Red Dog Road 7 miles south of Carbondale were evacuated and a shelter set up at Roaring Fork High School. The KOA campground 5 miles from Carbondale also was evacuated. Campers were being allowed to return to the campsite Friday night.
The fire itself, according to a Pitkin County alert, is in ranchland about 4 miles south of Carbondale. Smoke was visible from as far away as Cattle Creek along Colorado 82.
An aerial tanker had done one drop on the blaze and was returning to Grand Junction to reload for another drop. Helicopters also were working the blaze.
Fire crews from Glenwood Springs, Basalt, Snowmass, Aspen, Upper Colorado River Fire Crew, Colorado Department of Fire Prevention and Control, the U.S. Forest Service Control and the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Department were working the emergency.
An early alert indicated that the blaze, which started at around 3:30 p.m., probably was ignited by a power line. A recording at Holy Cross Energy said the utility had a power outage in the area. Initially, the fire was about 5 acres, but a wind shift shortly after 4 p.m. apparently helped it grow.
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UPDATE: Both westbound lanes and one eastbound lane of Interstate 70, according to a 12:20 a.m. update from Garfield County.