Dry Park Fire flares up, but firefighters retain the upper hand | PostIndependent.com

Dry Park Fire flares up, but firefighters retain the upper hand

DRY PARK – The wildfire that burned 50 acres in Dry Park Tuesday still had firefighters battling wind and hotspots on Wednesday.”Wind is great for sailboats, not wildfires,” said Glenwood Springs fire chief Mike Piper Wednesday afternoon. The fire “switched from good to bad pretty fast,” said Piper Wednesday, after afternoon winds picked up. The winds ignited a hotspot at about 1 p.m., and firefighters worried that the flare up could jump a fire line, said Piper.”The winds blew up a little section,” he said. “Thank God the helicopter was here” to put out the flames.In addition to the helicopter, a U.S. Forest Service 20-person hand crew, bulldozers and water trucks helped secure the fire. Firefighters also requested a slurry bomber and spotter plane from the interagency fire base at Walker Field in Grand Junction. The bomber made a single dump on hotspots.Wednesday evening, Piper said the fire was 50 percent contained and had burned 65 acres. The Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District received the first call of smoke in the Dry Park area about 4 p.m. on Tuesday. When firefighters arrived, they found one acre of hayfield on fire at the Crystal River Ranch, on the west side of Dry Park Road and south of Four Mile Road.

The fire spread to the west until it reached the top of a brush-covered ridge, and to the south until it was stopped by firefighters and favorable winds Tuesday evening.Four residences were evacuated along Four Mile Road (County Road 117) on Tuesday evening as a precautionary measure.Two patrols stayed on the scene Tuesday night to keep an eye on the fire. As of 5 p.m. Wednesday, the evacuated residents had not returned home, said Becky Antonelli of Glenwood Springs Fire District. While the fire was only 50 percent contained, firefighters were optimistic.”If the wind cooperates, we could finish this thing off” Wednesday evening, Piper predicted. Contact Ryan Graff: 945-8515, ext. 535rgraff@postindependent.com

Other area fire news-The Pitkin County Sheriff has imposed an open fire ban for the county.-The Brush Mountain Fire, burning 34 miles north of Grand Junction in remote Garfield County, grew Wednesday to more than 2,000 acres. The fire, burning largely on private land, threatens about 10 cabins and ranch outbuildings, though no structures have been lost. -A level I fire restriction has been announced for all BLM land administered by the Glenwood Springs and Grand Junction field offices. The restriction prohibits campfires outside of developed or improved campsites, and restricts smoking, welding, explosive materials and operation of internal combustion engines without spark-arresting devices.

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