Dotsero Crater Fire 20 percent contained |

Dotsero Crater Fire 20 percent contained

DOTSERO – A wildfire near the Dotsero Crater spread to more than 1,200 acres Friday and Saturday.

While no cause has been confirmed, motorcyclists were spotted in the area of the Crater Fire on Friday before the fire started, said fire information officer Patricia McGuire.

“We do feel it was human caused,” she said.

A communications building that sits on a ridge in the burned area was originally thought to have been damaged, but was found to be unscathed on Sunday afternoon, said McGuire.

The wildfire continued to keep fire crews busy Sunday.

There were 20 engines and crews building lines and mopping up hotspots Sunday afternoon. A single engine air tanker and helicopter were available to help put out hotspots, McGuire said.

The fire started just east of the Dotsero Crater on Friday afternoon. It burned quickly through the brush-covered hills to the northeast, leaving the red hillsides barren and covered in gray and black ash.

“It was pretty active the first night,” said U.S. Forest Service firefighter Chad Sewell of Eagle.

Sewell said crews estimated the wind was gusting up to 40 mph on Friday, fanning flames 40 feet in length and pushing the wildfire downhill, he said.

Since Friday night, the fire has died down considerably.

“It’s been pretty quiet today,” said Forest Service safety officer Greg Laurie of Breckenridge.

“It’s not spreading,” he said, adding that crews had built a fire line along the active side of the fire.

Three 20-person hand crews were also expected to arrive Sunday from North Dakota, Idaho, and South Dakota, she said.

The fire was about 20 percent contained Sunday afternoon.

The Crane Park Fire, about 11 miles northeast of Glenwood Springs along Coffeepot Road, also started Friday. Firefighters say it started from an abandoned campfire, McGuire said.

The fire burned 20 acres Friday and Saturday, and was holding at that size Sunday afternoon, said McGuire.

The Coffee Pot Road remains open.

Forest Service fire officials sent one 14-person hand crew, a helicopter, 16 smokejumpers, and three water tenders on the scene.

McGuire said crews were predicting full containment by 8 p.m. Monday.

Many area land managers have imposed fire restrictions, including Garfield and Eagle counties, the Forest Service and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

Although there was still work to be done on the fires, McGuire was optimistic.

“They haven’t really moved, and we’re not gonna let ’em,” she said.

Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 535

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